CDC still recommends a flu shot amid flu epidemicDecember 30, 2014
In early December, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported a “drift” in the H3N2 strain of this year’s flu virus: in approximately half the H3N2 cases tested, the genetic composition differed from the strain included in the vaccine. To some extent, this sort of gradual change happens regularly as the virus replicates.
However, this flu season has proven especially severe in part due to the fact that H3N2 is the most common strain currently in circulation. The CDC estimates that about 90% of influenza cases have been H3N2.
Despite that the vaccine is not a perfect match, the CDC still recommends that all be vaccinated for two main reasons. First, the vaccine protects against three or four strains of influenza, not just H3N2. As the virus continues to evolve, the vaccine’s efficacy could improve. Second, the vaccine may still reduce the seriousness and/or duration of illness in the event one does catch H3N2.
As flu season reaches an early peak, vaccination is especially critical. As fifteen children have now died after contracting the flu this season, and twenty-two states are currently reporting “high” influenza activity, the CDC has declared influenza an epidemic.
If you would like more information regarding seasonal flu or would like to schedule a vaccination program at your organization, please click here to get in touch with Affiliated Physicians.
Affiliated Physicians is a national provider of corporate health services including on-site flu vaccinations and wellness screenings.