Flu Shots Now Available – What’s New for 2015?

From the Doctor’s Blog Nov 2, 2015

flu shots 2015

What Happened Last Year?

Last month, the Washington Post reported “The [flu vaccine] 2014 formulation, by all accounts, was a disaster thanks to a surprise strain — a mutated form of H3N2 — that caught everyone off guard. Things were so bad that last year, 145 children died from the flu. In an average year it’s closer to 100.” – Myriad of Choices for This Year’s Flu Vaccine, Which health Officials Say Should Be Better Than Last Year’s

Family Medicine Associates remind you to schedule an appointment for your flu shot with your personal healthcare provider.

“Flu shots typically contain a mix of three to four different strains of flu that health officials and industry predict may be circulating that season, based on a complex analysis that includes reports from hospitals, sampling of viruses and modeling programs. The vaccines take months to produce, and it can be tricky to guess what might happen that far in advance. Sometimes they’re on the mark and the flu season is mild. But when they’re not, it can be dangerous and hospitals can fill up with people suffering from serious and sometimes deadly flu,” reported the Washington Post.

Last year’s shots were only 13 percent effective against H3N2 because of what scientists call “drift” or antigenic change in the virus that involves a change in its surface proteins that evades a host’s immune response. Flu shots are typically 50 to 60 percent effective for the strains they contain.

Thomas Frieden, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, said Thursday that he’s more optimistic that this year’s vaccine will be more effective. “It doesn’t matter which flu vaccine you get, just get one,” he urged.

What You Should Know for the 2015-2016 Influenza Season

A yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older is the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. People should begin getting vaccinated soon after flu vaccine becomes available, if possible by October, to ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu season begins. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating in the community, it’s not too late to get vaccinated.

In addition to getting a seasonal flu vaccine, if you have not already gotten vaccinated, you can take everyday preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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This article is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical or safety advice. Please consult your health care professional for evaluation of your individual case.