Flu Vaccines Should Be More Effective This Winter

As the annual flu season approaches, federal officials said on Thursday that the new flu vaccines available for North America this season should be a good match to the influenza strains that are in the U.S.

The new lots of flu shots and mists include protection versus viral strain A/Switzerland/9715293/2013. That H3N2 flu caused the most illnesses during the flu season last year, but it emerged too late to be included in the vaccines made for the U.S.

Due to that, the overall effectiveness of the flu vaccines in 2014 was just 23%. That means people who were vaccinated were just 23% less apt than those who did not have a flu shot, to be sickened with an illness that is flu-like that was sufficiently harsh to send them to their doctor.

Centers for Disease Control flu watchdogs scrutinized the 199 flu specimens that were collected in the U.S. as well as elsewhere between May 24 and September 5.

Most of the specimens or 118 of the 199 were the H3N2 viruses and all had a structure making them vulnerable to the vaccines available this year.

Another 20 specimens were the H1N1 viruses that are similar to the A/California/7/2009 strain that caused the swine flu pandemic during 2009 and 2010.

Last year’s vaccine targeted the strain and this year’s as well.

In all the CDC and collaborating agencies tested over 80,000 specimens from May 24 to September 5, and just 2.1% of them were influenza. The confirmed viruses were in 47 states, Washington D.C., as well as Puerto Rico.

As was expected, for this point in the year complaints of illness were responsible for no more than 1.3% of all visits to providers of healthcare, in any week last year.

Deaths that were attributed to pneumonia or flu did not pass 6.4% of all deaths in any one week, which was below the threshold of epidemic. One child died from the flu during the period flu incidents were reported.

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