Doctors Stress Importance of New Flu Vaccine Formula

Doctor demonstrating new vaccine potentialCold and flu season is right around the corner, but medical professionals are hoping that a more improved flu vaccine could make a big difference.The plan is to use the advanced formula in significantly more shots this year.

The new shots protect against four strains of influenza, compared to the conventional vaccine which guarded against three strains. This new vaccine could also prove more effective than trivalent shots which are about 65 percent effective at preventing respiratory illness. Experts estimate that the four-blend formula could be used in as many as half of all shots administered this fall.

(The improved formula was introduced last year and could be found in about 25 percent of flu vaccinations administered, according to federal health monitors.)

Implementing this New Formula

The new formula is expected to be steadily included in more shots over the next few years, with the end goal being complete coverage before too long. It makes sense that a more potent shot should offer a more comprehensive defense against modern strains of the flu, especially for diabetics and other people with weakened immune systems.

In the last couple of years, these strains of influenza have sent more than their fair share of unexpecting people to the emergency room. But there are more materials available online which are informing people of the benefits of getting a flu shot this year. We even expect more people to consider participating in a flu vaccine clinical trial, like the ones being conducted here in Birmingham, AL.

The improved formula provides added protection against the influenza strain known as B virus. This means it is effective against two A strains and two B strains– the latter strain accounts for an estimated 25 to 30 percent of all diagnosed cases around the country (numbers vary from year to year).

Healthcare authorities alter the formula of given flu shots on a regular basis based on the strains that are expected to be prevalent. Of course, it’s difficult to accurately predict, so it’s not guaranteed that this new vaccine will be the more effective.

Still No Need to Be Picky about Flu Vaccines

Doctor discusses new vaccine guidelines“New data show influenza B puts people in the intensive care unit at an equal rate as influenza A. I really think it’s a good thing that we have protection against both strains of B,” stated Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior associate at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Health Security. “Hopefully, our flu season this year will have less B-caused illness because more people are able to get the quadrivalent shot. But any shot is better than no shot.”

We also want to stress the fact that a three-strain shot is worth getting, even if there aren’t four-strain shots available.

It should be noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices have not officially recommended this new influenza vaccine formula over the standard three-strain shot. Lisa Grohskopf, a CDC medical officer, says they have not yet reviewed enough evidence to justify this recommendation.

According to the CDC, anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of Americans come down with a case of the flu each year, and 200,000 are sent to the hospital with further complications.



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