Recent News Calls Effectiveness of Flu Vaccine Into Question

Northwestern Medicine
News December 10, 2014
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced* that early data from the current flu season suggests it could be more severe than normal. This is largely due to the most predominant flu viruses being influenza A H3N2, half of which have been found to have genetic or antigenic changes from the form that was used for the season’s vaccine. Because of these changes, the vaccine may have a reduced effectiveness in protecting against the H3N2 viruses that are circulating.

But does this mean that getting the flu shot or other flu vaccination isn’t useful? Data from previous flu seasons where H3N2 viruses were most common revealed more severe flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths, leading experts to agree that getting vaccinated to protect yourself and others as much as possible is still very important.

One of those experts is Michael P. Angarone, DO, Northwestern Medicine infectious diseases specialist and assistant professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Watch the video below to learn more about what the news from the CDC means.



Flu vaccinations are now available for adults and children at most Northwestern Medicine outpatient locations without an appointment. Learn more about the flu vaccine.
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