Every year people are urged to get the flu shot to protect themselves from the potentially deadly flu virus.
However, CDC has revealed that this year’s flu shot may not be effective against the strongest strain of Influenza this flu season.
Does this means that you should not get the flu shot for the 2014-2015 flu season?
According to Joseph Bresee, M.D., Chief of the Influenza Epidemiology and Prevention Branch at CDC, “while the vaccine’s ability to protect against drifted H3N2 viruses this season may be reduced, we are still strongly recommending vaccination. Vaccination has been found to provide some protection against drifted viruses in past seasons. Also, vaccination will offer protection against other flu viruses that may become more common later in the season.”
Flu vaccinations tend to protect individuals against several strains of the flu virus, so even if one virus is resistant, the vaccination may work against other strains.
This advice comes as this flu season is expected to be severe with strains of the H3N2 virus which proved deadly in 2012-2013, 2007-2008 and 2002-2003 flu seasons. When this year’s flu vaccination was developed in February, the H3N2 strain was not identified as a threat.
CDC recommends vaccination, especially for people who are at high risk for developing the flu. At risk individuals include children under 5, adults over 65 and pregnant women. In addition, conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart related conditions put people at risk for developing the flu.
Antiviral drugs like Tamiflu and Relenza are likely to be very effective if taken within 48hrs of flu symptoms according to CDC.
Will you get the flu shot this year?