The 2017-2018 flu season has shown to be particularly nasty this year — in part, they believe, because of a less effective vaccine. Each month, flu cases have multiplied and the CDC has already warned this year’s flu will be worst than the last. To date, 36 states are showing widespread influenza levels and many believe this season could easily reach epidemic levels.
Influenza A has been the more predominant strain this year and is known to cause more severe symptoms. On average in the United States, this strain can kill between 4,000-60,000 people a year.
With the flu shot only mildly effective, many will not stand a chance at fighting off this powerful strain. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suspects the vaccine won’t work any better in the U.S. [than it did during Australia’s flu season] “It is possible that we will experience low vaccine effectiveness against influenza A (H3N2) viruses and a relatively severe influenza season if they predominate,” Fauci and colleagues wrote in an article published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine. (Source)
The reason the 2017 shot isn’t preventing as many cases of the H3N2 strain or Flu A is that the flu strain scientists were using to grow the virus mutated during the growing process. It’s not a harmful defect, but it means that the non-live strain of H3N2 influenza in the injection is slightly different than what’s actually circulating in the human population. This means that our bodies are not capable of fighting this flu strain off as easily.
This is not the first time the flu shot has been ineffective. In 2015, the UK experienced a sharp increase in flu cases. Only 3 out of every 100 vaccinated people were prevented from getting full-blown influenza, a situation that led to a large rise in the elderly winter death rate in the UK. In the same year, on the other side of the pond, the U.S. saw extreme flu cases leading the CDC to admit the flu shot did not work.
The same is being said for this year’s flu shot and we must stay aware of the symptoms and prepare accordingly.
The suddenness of symptoms is also what sets this flu apart from others. Experts indicate that with this flu, you are aware of the moment you begin coming down with symptoms rather than a gradual decline in health. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: