Flu has been much of a nuisance last year and even specialists agreed that the flu vaccine has proven a lot weaker in defending people from the virus. But the CDC hopes flu vaccines will be better this year. The positive attitude is, indeed, reassuring for most of us, but is it enough to actually compensate for a vaccine that abruptly lost its protection ratio?
The vaccine that we will be taking this year is no different than the one we took last year. It targets a strain called H3N2. The major inconvenience last year was that this particular strain mutated, rendering the vaccine less efficient than it was expected. But what happens if the strain mutates again this year? Are we going to have to rely on hope this time as well?
Dr. William Schaffner, a well-known infectious disease expert from the Vanderbilt University, declared that last year was a very disappoint one for the flu vaccine. And it was, indeed. The major issue is that the realization that the flu vaccine was not very effective will not protect us and our children in the year that will come. We need a better solution.
The CDCs statistics show that the hospitalizations spiked for people who were 65 of age or older. Records of age hospitalizations began 10 years ago and 2014-2015 flu hospitalizations reached the highest numbers ever recorded. What is more worrying is that there were 145 fatal cases. Yes, people died because of flu in 2014-2015, something that is very hard to believe.
Overall, the flu success ratio was estimated at only 13%. It is worrying since the average yearly success rate is estimated at around 50 to 60%. However, health specialists seem to be a little more optimistic about this year because they claim they have studied the dominant strain this summer and the H3N2 seems to have remained the main source of the issue.
For the time being, officials say the flu vaccines are still the best protection method that medicine has at its disposal. There are many people who have expressed their concern about this matter, but as long as specialists consider it to be our number one solutions, we just have to embrace the decision.
What is more interesting is that a group of specialists is currently testing a “one time flu shot” which seems to be our final solution in the years to come. It is still in experimental stages, so it might take up to another 5 years until we actually see this new shot implemented.
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