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CDC Reports that the Flu Vaccine Not as Effective This Year Due to Viral Mutations

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting that mutations in the flu virus have diminished the effectiveness of the vaccine. In fact, Dr. Tom Frieden of the CDC reported the most common mutation they are seeing is the H3N2 strain of influenza. This particular strain is known to result in a higher number of hospitalizations and fatalities. As a result, the CDC expects to see more people needing to seek out medical attention and sadly more cases of flu-related deaths. As is typical of the flu, those most are risk are the young, the elderly, and those with heart problems and asthma. 

In issuing their health advisory, the CDC reported that it took 85 samples of the flu virus and found that the current vaccine does not safeguard against the flue in 52% of samples taken. While the agency is capable of tweaking the vaccine to provide a better safeguard against the known strains, it isn’t something that can be achieved in a short period of time. It will take the CDC up to four months to adapt the vaccine during which time the current flu season will largely be over. 

The news isn’t all bad though. Those who get the current influenza vaccine will be protected against most of the flu strains out there. In the event that someone vaccinated does come down with the flu from other strains such as the H3N2, their symptoms should be milder as a result of the vaccine. This story was shared with me via Darius Fisher.

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