Single strain in flu shot proving ineffective


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (wCIA) — People are getting vaccinated as peak flu season approaches, but this year the shot isn’t working for everyone.

There is a strain in this year’s flu vaccine that is not a match for one that is infecting people. However, there are many different kinds of influenza that can still be prevented by the shot. So doctors are continue to push the message out to get vaccinated.

Peak flu season typically starts during January and February. Doctors recommend getting the shot as early as October and into November for the most effective prevention. Awais Vaid with Champaign Urbana Public Health Department says, “The effectiveness of the vaccine is not 100%. We know that. But it is the best defense we have.”

Each year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with other government agencies, predict which flu strains could be prevalent and decide which types to put into the vaccine.

This time around they chose four, two “A” and two “B” strains. Vaid says, “The tricky part is that every year there are slight mutations in the virus.”
This year, one of the “A” strains was not a match for a mutation that’s been infecting some people. That means some are still getting sick, even though they’ve received the shot that contains inactive strains of the flu.”

That doesn’t mean the vaccine is completely ineffective. The other strains will still target the virus. CUPHD says there are other reasons people may be getting sick after getting the shot.

Vaid says, “It takes almost two weeks to build up immunity to the vaccine. So if you take it today, you may get exposed to the flu from somebody else tomorrow and you may still get sick.”

Health professionals are still recommending people get the shot, not just for your health but for others safety as well. Megan Berry is a nurse at OSF Urgo. She says, “If you get the flu then it can be dangerous, especially to those around you. If you have a newborn baby at home or an elderly relative or somebody who has cancer who is immune-compromised then you’re putting them at risk.”

Many local hospitals and schools in central Illinois reported that they have not seen a significant number of people getting infected by the flu so far this year.

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