The United States Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that the 2019 flu shot has been 50% less effective in preventing infection. A flu shot is still recommended to be taken because it might provide some protection against an infection.
Sophomore Lydia Scott said, “I got the flu shot last year because any protection against the flu is better than none at all.”
Scott continued, “Each flu virus is different so the vaccination has to be mended to fight against the virus so I would not expect the shot to be 100% effective anyway.
According to CNN, the CDC estimates that this year’s vaccine had a 47% effectiveness against prevention of infection, however they also reported that the shot’s success is influenced by the age of the patient. All children up to 17, had an overall effectiveness against flu of 61%, while just 24% of adults 50 and older who had received the shot gained full protection from it.
Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the nonprofit National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, said that although the vaccine is not perfect, it should be “given … credit for softening the blow.” This means that that those who get flu after receiving vaccine are less likely to require hospitalization and are less likely to die of the illness.
Flu season started around September, while there was no serious activity in October or November. However, serious activity has elevated throughout early February.
CDC reported, “last year was the deadliest flu.” According to Jerome Adams, the current Surgeon General of the U.S, an estimation of 80,000 Americans, including 180 children, died of flu and the complications that came with it. The effectiveness of last year’s flu shot was estimated to be around 40%. The CDC also found that among children, the shot was estimated to be 59% effective.
Due to the flu shot not being 100% effective, CDC recommends a antiviral medication for people that have serious concerns and issues with influenza. The US Food and Drug Administration has also approved of this antiviral medication. According to the FDA, antivirals reduce symptoms and complications that are associated with influenza.
Also, there are three different influenza vaccine production techniques- egg-based flu vaccine, cell-based flu vaccine, and the recombinant flu vaccine. The egg-based flu vaccine involves raising a virus in eggs and then killed and purified for the actual flu shot. The cell-based flu vaccine are grown in animal cells using Cell culture technology that has the potential for a faster start-up of the flu vaccine manufacturing process. Lastly, the Recombinant Flu Vaccine isolates a certain gene from a naturally occurring virus. This HA gene is then purified to be used.
Of the three vaccines, the most common way is to use the egg-based vaccine. This could mean that a defect in the process must be fixed to prevent a future defects, unless this defect is just a one-in-a-time thing.
Finally, while the scientists work toward fixing this shot, it is recommended by the CDC that everyone uses the common methods such as washing your hands thoroughly and staying away from people who already sick. This would prevent from being infected by the flu.