US health authorities said that this year’s flu vaccine will be far more effective than it was in previous years, suggesting that it will keep the population healthy after last winter’s nasty flu virus spread.
Are you afraid a needles? That’s fine, beause this year’s treatment may be for the first time a needle-free injection. Or you could always choose the tiny needles that were newly introduced on the market, or a nasal spray. Health authorities are expecting at least 170 million flu vaccines this year.
Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that it doesn’t matter what kind of flu vaccine you get this year, as long as you get one. Frieden himself rolled up his sleeve on Thursday and got a regular shot.
The doctor adds that last year’s winter was a nasty surprise, one of the worst years of flu infections. Frieden said that a brand new mutated strain of flu (H3N2) spread right after the flu vaccines were administrated to the population. The H3N2 subtype is very harsh, particularly for children and older adults. Last year the flu vaccine was only 13% effective against this strain that caused most of last winter’s illnesses. Typically, the flu vaccine does the job of preventing flu ilnesses pretty well, being 60% effective against the flu. However, the CDC is confident that this year’s infection rate will drop considerably if people will be taking the new vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that last year’s flu related hospitalizations were among the highest in decades. Frieden stated that the H3N2 strain is currently circulating in the southern regions of the country, as well as in other countries.
The new vaccine is said to be very effective against this particular flu strain, but also protect against other three other strains. The CDC is monitoring all the potential mutations of the strain in order to devise more effective vaccines. Frieden said that flu is unpredictable, but adds that the new vaccine is the most complete treatment they have ever conceived.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that every person starting at 6 months of age should be vaccinated. The agency warned that flu is particularly dangerous for everyobody over age 65, pregnant women, children, and individuals that are already suffering from bad health conditions, such as heart disease or asthma. But that doesn’t mean healthy people are totally immune to the flu, Frieden warns, suggesting that they can get seriously ill as well without appropriate prevention.
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