Australian Researchers: This Year’s Flu Shot Just 10% Effective

Image result for flu sickA group of Australian researchers found that this year’s flu vaccine may be just 10 percent effective in keeping the flu and colds at bay. This means that 9 in 10 people may still get sick with the flu after getting the vaccine.

Researchers explained that vaccine makers have mismatched the strains of the flu virus circulating this year. Their findings appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.

This may be why in this flu season in Australia, which occurs during the U.S. summer, so many Australians got sick despite getting the shot. This season, the number of flu-related hospitalizations hit a record high.

In the United States, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Georgia reported an intense flu activity. The dominant flu strain for 2017 seems to be H3N2, against which the flu vaccine is usually less effective.

Influenza is behind up to 5 million cases and 500,000 deaths each year across the globe. In the U.S., between 140,000 and 700,000 people land in the hospital due to complications. Up to 56,000 are killed by the complications every year.

This year, U.S. health authorities have confirmed over 7,000 new flu cases, which represents a twofold increase from last year’s levels. In 2016, the vaccine was 39% effective against all flu viruses and just 32% effective against the riskier H3N2 strain.

This year’s flu shot is even less effective, the U.S. confirmed. U.S. flu vaccines are designed to fight the same strain of the virus that spreads during the Australian flu season. However, despite all precaution, the 2017-2018 shot seems to be just 10% failproof.

Dr. Pardis Sabeti, an infectious disease expert from the Harvard University, explained that flu vaccines contain a deactivated flu virus that prompts the immune system to get prepared for the real virus. Yet, the problem is that the flu virus can mutate from one flu season to another which can render the vaccine ineffective.