CDC officials are noting that this years’ flu vaccine might not be a good match for the virus that is circulating throughout the United States right now. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted on Wednesday that the flu vaccine that was issued this year is not matching up well with the strain of the flu that is currently circulating throughout the United States, and has been doing so since the agency began evaluating flu cases in October.
The CDC took a sampling of the cases that were noted between October 1st and November 22nd and found that slightly less than half were a good match with the flu that was contained in the flu shot. The strain in question which is known as Influenza A (H3N2) was and is definitely the predominant strain – according to the CDC, but that in the past that particular strain has mutated and made the shot less effective. The CDC noted this in an advisory to those who had received the shot this fall noting that the virus had mutated since the first round of flu shots was released and in turn given to those most-susceptible for the flu virus.
Influenza A or B are the two that most-predominantly put elderly people, and young children in the hospital and have the highest mortality rate when it comes to the virus itself. However, the CDC was quick to note that this was not a warning or something that everyone should be vitally concerned about. Ultimately, flu shots are both won and lost through prediction and modified guessing on behalf of the doctors that put the vaccine together.
On Thursday though, scientists noted that it would not be possible to create a secondary vaccine that would account for the evolution or the change in the pattern – thus unnerving some – especially those who are elderly and most susceptible to H3N2 strains that could potentially have fatal consequences. At the end of the day, good policing of health and ensuring that healthy habits are followed during the flu season is the best preventive measure that can be taken to make sure everyone remains flu-free.
While a new flu vaccine will not be coming, doctors are urging those who could easily contract the flu to simply be vigilant and execute good hand-washing and overall cleanliness to ensure that the spread of the virus doesn’t become more severe as it has in years past. To this point, the CDC has noted that the number of cases has been below expectation heading into the year – which is a positive sign.