Published: Wed, November 08, 2017
Health Care | By Gwendolyn Kim

Why there's no good excuse for not getting the flu shot

Why there's no good excuse for not getting the flu shot

Despite efforts to vaccinate, the World Health Organization estimates that the flu virus results in 1 billion infections, 3 to 5 million cases of severe disease, and 300,000 to 500,000 deaths annually. Center for Disease Control recommends getting a flu shot before the holiday season. Illustration showing the flu virus containing eight gene segments.

A nurse vaccinates U.S. President Barack Obama against the H1N1 flu at the White House in 2009.

Media reports have circulated, warning the public of the severity of the influenza virus strain this year, citing the Australian experience earlier this year.

Currently, the difficulty that stumbles researchers is that flu viruses mutate rapidly.

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"Even influenza vaccine manufacturers are recognizing that, over time, the egg-based production process will become obsolete and will be replaced with a more modern production process", she said. Scientists are trying various approaches to better match vaccines to multiple viral strains. The 2016-2017 vaccine was only 43 percent effective against the predominant influenza A H3N2 strain, and protection has been nearly as low in other years.

Flu vaccine is available in Pueblo. For example they may have got a food vaccine and got sick anyway.

One of the most promising strategies-creating a vaccine that targets the "stalk" of a protein that covers the flu virus-is a strong one, but it isn't completely bulletproof. "We can protect ourselves and also our family, friends and the community", said family nurse practitioner Sarah Fincham, assistant clinical professor at Washington State University's college of nursing in Spokane.

The current strain of H3N2 emerged during the 2014-15 flue season and remains prevalent today. The fact that the sugar molecule is chemically glued to a site on the virus's surface close to where human antibodies, our immune system watchdogs attach is important. Interestingly, the sugar-adorned viruses are not found in vaccines made using other methods. These statistics demonstrate "that there is a need for more effective vaccine technologies", Weaver argues. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to become protected.

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