Just as we’re heading into flu season, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that this year’s flu season could be severe, due to the fact that this year’s flu vaccine may not work too well.
The CDC found that, "…roughly half of the H3N2 viruses analyzed are drift variants: viruses with antigenic or genetic changes that make them different from that season’s vaccine virus. This means the vaccine’s ability to protect against those viruses may be reduced."
To put it simply, half of the flu viruses out there have mutated since the flu vaccine was put into production earlier this year, which makes the flu vaccine much less effective against them.
However the CDC is still urging people to get flu shots, especially high risk groups, such as children younger than 5, adults older than 65, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions.
"While the vaccine’s ability to protect against drifted H3N2 viruses this season may be reduced, we are still strongly recommending vaccination," said Joseph Bresee, M.D., Chief of the Influenza Epidemiology and Prevention Branch at CDC.
"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."
This season it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the flu. Make sure to get your shot if you haven't yet. If you do come down with the flu, get to the doctor as soon as you can, and do you best to reduce spreading the virus.