Flu vaccine may not protect against dominant strain this year

Health experts still encourage getting flu shots.
Health experts still encourage getting flu shots.(n/a)
Published: Dec. 19, 2021 at 11:18 AM EST
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LOUISVILLE, KY (NBC) - Recent data revealed some concerning news about the flu vaccine and how it may not provide as much protection as people had hoped.

Health experts warn that that United States could be in for a bad flu season, in addition to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases as more people gather indoors without social distancing and wearing masks.

According to a new study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, the current flu vaccines seem to be a bad match for the dominant strain that is circulating so far this flu season.

Each year, scientists predict which strains will be most common before each flu season begins in order to create an effective flu shot.

This year’s flu vaccine contain four strains. However, scientists have found one version of the H3N2 strain is a bad match for what is widely circulating across the country, known as 2a2.

According to the study, the last time a flu vaccine was mismatched this poorly was during the 2014 through 2015 flu season.

But even then, the flu vaccine prevented close to 40,000 hospitalizations and nearly 4,000 deaths.

Experts say the flu vaccine is never a perfect match for influenza, but it is still the best option to reduce a person’s risk of severe illness from the flu.

The study from the university of Pennsylvania has not yet been peer reviewed.

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