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No New Flu Vaccines

By on December 5, 2014

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is too late to make new flu vaccines for the current flu season.

The federal agency sent an advisory to doctors noting that one component of this year’s flu vaccine was only partially protective against the predominant flu virus, known as influenza A (H3N2), which has mutated since the current flu shots were made.

CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said it takes four months to make a new flu vaccine even using newer cell-based technologies, too long to be helpful in the current flu season.

Past seasons dominated by H3N2 strains of flu have been severe, and the worry is that without a good match in this year’s flu shot, many people could be hospitalized or die from flu this year.

CDC is urging people to seek medical help if they become severely ill with the flu and ask for an antiviral medication, such as Roche’s Tamiflu or GlaxoSmithKline’s Relenza.

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.


Content for this article provided by Reuters and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.