FDA advisory committee to analyze changing flu vaccine for next year

01 March, 2018, 13:36 | Author: Conrad Doyle
  • Doctors visits for the flu down for second week in a row, CDC says

Many took the advice of experts to get the flu vaccine, but its effectiveness was limited, Gottlieb noted.

"Following that meeting, the FDA will also work to apply all the knowledge that we gain from this year's flu season to ensure that the best possible vaccines are available next season to protect against the flu", according to a statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

But in another light, Powell said, the vaccine is still doing its job. It has been driven by a formidable type of flu that tends to cause more hospitalizations and deaths.

It's too early to say with certainty that we've hit the national peak.

In some cases, the spray vaccine offered only 3 percent protection for children between ages 2 and 17, compared with up to 63 percent effectiveness from the shot.

And the flu is not to be underestimated, Powell said.

The state reports flu-associated hospitalizations, and as of February 17, 36 children under the age of six months have been admitted to hospitals so far; 66 children from six to 23 months have been admitted, and 81 children between two and four years have been admitted.

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"It's important for people to keep hearing about it", Powell said of the flu.

Next: The vaccine wasn't totally ineffective. Both are misconceptions, including pregnant women shouldn't get vaccinated and the vaccine actually gives you flu.

"If you get the flu, you could do OK, but you might spread it to someone who might not do so well", Powell said. The Health Department estimates between 120 and 2,000 people die from the virus annually.

This year's flu shot has been only 36 percent effective against major flu strains.

That's because every season could have multiple peaks and various strains, she said. "It's not always effective, but it definitely helps to build up your immunity toward the flu". And public health officials aren't blaming the vaccine for causing this season's nasty epidemic.

"When they inject these eggs with the virus, they are prone to egg-adapted changes, or small changes that happen because they are cultured in eggs", Higa said.

There are a number of theories on why this season's vaccines produced reduced effectiveness against H3N2.

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"This is a closer cell line that doesn't induce those egg-adapted changes", she said.

Next: You can't get sick from the shot. What we learn about the differences in efficacy between these different vaccines might reveal information that can inform why overall effectiveness against H3N2 was lagging. "There's still room for us to improve and get better and make a better vaccine". Vaccinated patients can still come down with the flu, but their symptoms are likely to be briefer and less severe.

Even if it's not a great match for the virus, there are still plenty of benefits.

"We're seeing the flu in everybody, of all ages".

For the needle averse, the nasal flu vaccine will be back next year, according to Time. "I know a lot of people prefer that over the intramuscular shot".

Most adults start to be contagious with the flu about one day before their symptoms start and remain contagious for 5 to 7 days after, according to the CDC.

"There's something to be said for herd immunity", Higa said.

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"The good news is, when we look at our data from patients who have been immunized, we've seen lower flu rates", said McCall. But over the last few weeks, the state is seeing more cases of the B strain, which can be weaker.

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