Thu | Jan 18, 2018

New flu vaccine provides good protection against H1N1: study

Published:Wednesday | March 30, 2016 | 12:27 AM

Researchers are touting that this year’s flu vaccine is providing good protection against the most actively circulating strain of the virus, H1N1.
“It’s pretty good. Last year it was zero per cent effective, this year it’s 64 per cent,” Dr. James Dickinson, a researcher with the University of Calgary in Canada and co-author of the 2015/2016 interim vaccine effectiveness report, said.
Last year’s flu shot was declared a failure because the most common strain of the virus in circulation, H3N2, had mutated away from what the vaccine had been protecting against.  This year’s H1N1 strain, on the other hand, is fairly similar to the strains that circulated several years ago.
Getting a flu shot does not guarantee you won’t get sick but health officials say it does reduce your risk.
“Each year, we don’t exactly know what’s going to happen, but if you don’t get immunised, for sure you’ll get no protection,” Dr. Martin Lavoie, Alberta’s acting Chief Medical Officer of Health.
According to health officials, the number of persons going to get the flu shot has been low this year, some theorising that this was due to the lack of effect of last year’s vaccine.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised that the constantly evolving nature of influenza viruses requires continuous global monitoring and frequent reformulation of influenza vaccines.
According to the global health governing body, influenza vaccination is currently the principal means of reducing or counteracting influenza mortality and morbidity burden in the community.
“Rapid spread of influenza viruses during seasonal epidemics and occasional pandemics tightly frames the whole process if vaccine is to be manufactured and delivered on time. A prerequisite of production and supply of an optimal influenza vaccine is the selection and development of optimal candidate vaccine viruses, and the development and availability of vaccine potency reagents,” WHO officials said.