This year's flu vaccine may not be as effective as others

Posted December 13, 2017

"Every flu season is hard to predict and we can not yet know which type of flu virus will be dominant in the United States", said Kelly Moore, MD, director of the Tennessee Immunization Program. "The influenza vaccine is still proven to be the best protection we have against the flu and I urge everyone six months and older to get a flu shot now". This year, there have been no severe cases or related deaths, Corson said.

Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, can impact anyone, but serious complications can occur for people 65 and older, those with certain chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease, and in pregnant women and young children, according to the CDC.

This flu season is beginning earlier than the previous couple of years, which had unusually late starts. Additionally, if you are sick, then you will need to stay home and rest.

Getting the flu shot isn't just about protecting your health. At this time a year ago, Memorial Medical Center in Springfield had treated 14 cases of influenza.

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Have you got your flu vaccine this season, but you're now battling severe flu symptoms like you haven't?

Influenza viruses are notorious for their mutations, a phenomenon known as antigenic drift, and each year experts try to predict the strains that will circulate months ahead of the coming season so vaccines can be manufactured in time.

Get more information about the flu from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at this link. [Find out where else you can get a flu shot]. However, this year the Southern Hemisphere has been a mixed bag, which means we can't say with certainty what's going to happen in the United States.

Flu vaccines also are available at most primary care clinics, usually at no cost with insurance.

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Since Sept. 1, 40 per cent of the influenza cases were in the 20- to 64-year-old category, 30 per cent were seniors, 20 per cent were school age children and 10 per cent were preschool age.

Richard Webby, PhD, is a member of the infectious disease department at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and one of a select group of scientists responsible for determining which flu vaccines will be put into circulation each year. The flu vaccine can not give you the flu.

For those who have not yet been vaccinated, this is a good time to do it, Collett said.

“According to the CDC, it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection to fully develop in the body, so its best to get vaccinated early, ” said PHD spokeswoman Melanie Collett. "Were only talking about one strand that is in the flu shot".

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