Early Signs of Flu Vaccine Looks Promising
Last flu season the effectiveness of the flu vaccine was not as helpful as the Centers for Disease Control would have hoped for. The flu shot that most Americans received was only about twenty percent effective, which was largely due to the fact that the strains of flu the vaccine was made from did not closely match with the actual strain of flu that was predominately circulating in the United States.
Since then researchers have learned from the failure of last year’s vaccine, identifying the mutation that had made the vaccine so ineffective and thus altering some of this year’s vaccine accordingly. While it is not possible to know ahead of time or predict with certainty future mutations of the flu virus, but it is possible for researchers to derive a flu shot that can combat known strains.
Current research has led scientists to try a new approach in their efforts to create a more effective vaccine. Researchers are now targeting a protein that is found on the surface of the influenza virus called hemagluttinin, but it will be several more years before it will be available to the public.
Flu Vaccines Are Available Now
So, in the meantime research will continue to work towards the new approach while still creating new known strain vaccines for the flu seasons ahead. This year’s flu vaccine is now available and experts believe they have more closely matched it with the dominant strains of flu that are beginning to spread. In order for people to keep up with the always mutating viruses it is necessary to get an annual flu shot each year. The vaccine can take up to two weeks to become fully effective so the sooner you get the vaccine the lower your chances of getting the flu will be.
The flu shot will not work in the same way for all those who receive one, for people with impaired immune systems it is especially important not to skip getting the vaccine. While it may not be as effective as it would be in healthier adults it still will lessen the symptoms of the flu, and may even prevent serious respiratory complications from occurring. Everyone over six months old should get the annual flu shot, but especially those people who are at high risk.
Who is at High Risk From Complications of the Flu
- People who are 65 years of age and above
- Infants and toddlers under two years of age
- Children who are five and under
- Pregnant women
- American Indians
- Native Alaskans
- Anyone who resides in a long-term care facility
People who have pre-existing medical conditions they are being treated for should consult with their physician as to if they should get vaccinated and what type of vaccine will be the best one for them. It is very rare that the annual flu shot is not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to anyone six months of age and older and that includes people with pre-existing conditions and pregnant women. Your physician will know what method of delivery of the flu vaccine is appropriate for your particular health concerns.
If you have a mild or severe illness at the present time, with or without a fever, it is best to put off getting a flu shot until your health has returned to normal. But, once you are feeling better or back to your normal state of health do not hesitate any longer to get your vaccination as soon as is possible, even if you already had the flu. It is possible to get the flu more than once in a season, there are several strains, some more dangerous than others for people at high risk, get vaccinated at once.