This is flu season. The time period where everyone is getting sick and indirectly spreading it to others. Usually around October, there are ads everywhere trying to convince people to get the flu shot. The flu causes the antibodies in the body to develop about two weeks after vaccination which is supposed to provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. There are several kinds of vaccines available. The traditional flu vaccines are meant to protect against three different flu viruses, which are referred to as "trivalent vaccines”. Trivalent vaccines protects against two influenza A viruses (an H1N1 and an H3N2) and an influenza B virus.
How affective the flu vaccine can actually be, ranges widely from season to season. The vaccine’s effectiveness also can vary depending on who is being vaccinated. Two major factors that play a role in determining the likelihood that flu vaccine will protect a person from flu illness: 1)characteristics of the person being vaccinated (age and health), and 2) the similarity or "match" between the flu viruses and the flu vaccine is designed to protect against.
There are new studies that proved that this year's flu vaccines are 23 percent less effective against this year's predominant strain, H3N2. It turns out that the vaccine doesn't offer much protection due to the fact that H3N2 has mutated since the vaccine was created and manufactured. The mutations are called "drift". Vaccines are made months in advance so often do not protect well against drifted viruses although they may provide a little of what's called cross protection.
Doctors who were participating in the U.S. Flu VE Network interviewed their patients. The patients were eligible for the study if they were at least 6 months old and had an acute respiratory illness with a cough, and had not yet taken any flu medicines, like Tamiflu or Relenza. Researchers used a genetic test to see whether their patients had the flu and which strain. They also asked volunteers whether they had gotten a flu shot or flu mist vaccine at least two weeks before they became sick. As of January 2, 2015, 2,321 children and adults had joined the study. It was found that 49% of the people who tested positive for the flu had been vaccinated, along with a slightly higher percentage – 56% – of those who tested negative
Posted By: Barbara Afogho (group A)