After a low rate of success in 2014, the flu vaccine is modified and ready to do better this year.
After a tough season for flu sufferers, the Center for Disease Control is assuring Americans that the flu shot will be more effective in 2015.
As ABC News reported, last year saw the flu vaccine have only a 13% success rate, vs its usual 50-60% rate. The country saw the highest rate of hospitalizations for patients over the age of 65 with the flu in 10 years. In addition, the US recorded 145 pediatric deaths from the flu. “It was a disappointing year from the point of view of what the vaccine can do,” Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Disease, said.
However, scientists believe the culprit last year–the H3N2 strain of the flu–will be back again, and this year they are better prepared.
The vaccine is designed to match up against three or four of the strains, as selected based on analysis of worldwide trends. The H3N2 was a bit of a surprise in 2014 but this year it is included in the updated vaccine. “At the moment, we have reasonable confidence that we are going to have a good match between the circulating virus of what’s out there and what’s in the vaccine,” Schaffner announced.
Health experts warn not to use last year’s difficulties as an excuse not to be vaccinated this year, as CDC director Tom Freidan urged Americans to get the shot again. “Vaccination is the single most important step people can take to protect themselves,” he said. “Flu can be serious and it kills tens of thousands of Americans each year. Vaccination is easier and more convenient that ever, so get yourself and your family protected.”
Time to roll up your sleeves, everyone.