Have you got your flu vaccine this season, but you’re now battling severe flu symptoms like you haven’t? Australian experts may have the answer.
According to an analysis from Australia published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the effectiveness of this year’s flu shot is around 10 percent. Researchers explained that the strain of the flu virus that manufacturers used to produce the shots has just mutated rendering the drugs nearly useless.
- Public health expert Dr. George Han noted that no flu vaccine is 100 percent effective since the virus changes year-round.
- The 10 percent figure is mainly due to the fact that the flu virus that hit Australia this year, whose flu season coincides with the U.S. summertime, was the H3N2 strain.
- Vaccines are usually less effective when the H3N2 strain is involved.
This may be why Australia has seen a record number of hospitalizations and severe flu cases this year.
Experts Predict a Tough Flu Season
What’s more, American vaccine manufacturers look at the strain hitting Australia when producing the vaccines for the U.S., but that strain can mutate within the six to eight months the U.S. industry needs to produce the vaccines.
[Australians] get the flu season half a year before we do,
noted Dr. Han, who expects a tough flu season in the U.S. as well.
Experts have known for years that the success of a flu vaccine greatly lies with the manufacturer’s ability to accurately predict which virus strain will spread the incoming flu season.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccines are less effective when it comes to the H3N2 virus strain, and more effective against H1N1 viruses.
Last year’s vaccine was 39% failproof when it comes to all flu viruses and just 32% effective against the H3N2 strains. This may be why so many people got the flu despite getting immunized.
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