Flu Season

Flu vaccine may be more effective this year, CDC says

The CBS Evening News (9/17, story 12, 1:45, Pelley) reported that this year’s influenza vaccine may be more effective than last year’s. According to Dr. Jon Lapook, “Last year, the vaccine was only 23% effective because the predominant strain mutated after the vaccine had already been manufactured.” CDC “officials say this year’s flu vaccine is well-matched right now to circulating viruses.”

The Los Angeles Times (9/18, Kaplan) reports that this year, “flu watchdogs at the CDC have scrutinized 199 flu specimens collected in the United States and elsewhere between May 24 and Sept. 5.” They found that “the majority of those specimens – 118 of them – were H3N2 viruses, and all of them were built in a way that should make them vulnerable to this year’s vaccines.”

McClatchy (9/18, Mueller) reports that “by including components of H3N2 in this season’s flu vaccine, health care professionals hope to raise vaccine effectiveness against predominant strains back up to the 50 to 60% range.”

The AP (9/18, Neergaard) reports that, “all told, at least 171 million doses of flu vaccine are expected this year.”