Breakthrough: A permanent flu vaccine may be imminent

Breakthrough: A permanent flu vaccine may be imminent

Forget the annual shot, scientists may be getting closer to a vaccine that you only have to take once or twice in your entire lifetime.

Sure, the flu vaccine is great, but you have to get it every year, and who wants to do that? That’s why scientists are working on a longer-lasting flu vaccine, and they think they’re getting close, although it won’t happen this year.

The reality is that many people don’t get the flu shot every year: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says only two out of five Americans have received a shot so far this flu season. That’s why scientists want to create a once-in-a-lifetime vaccine, or at least something that only needs to be done a couple times to take hold.

Flu is dangerous. It can infect anyone, and the very young, elderly and chronically ill are at particular risk. There are 3 to 5 million cases of serioius disease each year, and 250,000 to 500,000 die annually, according to statistics from the World Health Organization.

Several groups are working on a vaccine, trying to tackle it using various complex strategies. It’s not clear when we’ll finally figure it out, but a solution can’t come soon enough.

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