Many of the influenza viruses that are prevalent in the United States undergo continuous mutation. This only means one thing – the different vaccine drugs that are available every year to counter such viruses are not that effective when it comes to providing people the necessary protection against them.
In fact, the US federal and state health officials have been regularly issuing warnings to doctors on the effectivity of the drugs currently being used to treat patients down with the influenza virus.
For instance, this year with the flu season just barely started, many cases of flu had already been recorded. Most of them points to the flu strain – known as the H3N2 virus – as the cause. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had already alerted the doctors all over the country on the existence of such strains.
Enough protection for three flu strains
A shot of the flu vaccine actually offers enough protection of an individual against a maximum of 3 influenza strains. However, there are mutated viruses or a mix of a number of them that are found to exist, and this includes H3N2. In the case of the H3N2, the strain of this virus that infects people had already gone a number of mutation, and is still mutating. Consequently, the vaccine becomes less effective in treating it. In fact, just a little over 50% of the flu cases has been responsive to the vaccine, according to the CDC.
Influenza viruses undergo continuous mutations known as the drift. Vaccines, on the other hand, are manufactured many months in advance. Hence, they are not capable of providing sufficient protection to those who took them as shots. Instead, what they provide is what’s known as cross protection.
The CDC reminds those who haven’t received their vaccination to get their flu shot. Vaccines are still the best way of protecting the body against any infection of the flu virus. Although the curing effect is reduced, cross protection is able to lessen the possibility of serious effects, the worst of which is death. Vaccines that offer cross protection protect the body against the ravages of the H3N2, H1N1 influenza, and B strains.
Get vaccinated every year
The CDC strongly advises everyone to get their flu vaccination every year. Every parent must make sure that their babies starting 6 months and up receive the flu vaccine shots to ensure protection from the virus. When it comes to those who are deemed more vulnerable to infection, the CDC reminds doctors to administer 2 antiviral drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza, to ensure treatment of the illness, or in other cases, prevent the virus from infecting. Individuals who are highly vulnerable to the flu infection are seniors who live in institutions such as nursing homes.
You know that an influenza outbreak is happening or bound to happen if at least 2 individuals from the same place are ill within 3 days, with one of them having the lab confirmation that the influenza virus has infected him. Residents can take the 2 drugs every day for two weeks, and for one week after the last known flu case.
The flu virus hits the hardest on both the young and old. The disease is capable of killing from 4,000 to a maximum of 50,000 individuals every year, in the US alone. This year, the center assures that 159 million or even more flu vaccine doses will be given to the public. The vaccines must be administered before or at the start of the flu season at the latest. It usually peaks in the US during the months of January and February.
Create a new flu vaccine
Many suggest making a new flu vaccine that can defeat the mutated flu virus. But according to CDC, this is not possible since the process is just too long and tedious. People think that the appropriate flu vaccine becomes available to counter any new and mutated strains that might pop up. In reality, the right vaccines need at least six months to become available.
A better option to obtain more effective vaccine is for the CDC and flu vaccine makers to work together and share available funds and resources. This way, the best possible vaccines are made much faster. Eventually, the CDC will be able to come up with vaccines that are capable of protection against all flu strains.
Get your yearly flu shots now
If you can’t wait to be vaccinated with a flu shot vaccine for sure protection, it is possible to get the shots that you need in many shops and pharmacies everywhere. Two of the best and most trusted company is the Costco and CVS, both of which have licensed pharmacists or store staff who are always ready to administer the shots. The drug stores welcome anyone who needs to get his flu shots. They are great options for your flu shots as they offer affordable and quality vaccination.