Tags: vaccine | flu | CDC | Dr. Oz

Authorities Expect Better Flu Vaccine

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Tuesday, 13 Oct 2015 01:13 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Last summer on "The Tonight Show," host Jimmy Fallon and actor Mark Wahlberg played a few rounds of “Headshots,” a bow and arrow game in which you try to shoot an object off your opponent's head.

Jimmy hit the mark about as often as the flu shot did last year. That's when, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the annual flu-fighter prevented infection from the top-circulating strain only about 13 percent of the time.

Fortunately, this year health authorities are expecting the vaccine to be much more effective; they have incorporated changes in the influenza A (H3N2) virus and the influenza B virus components to target strains that will be the most prevalent.

In any given year, flu vaccines are about 50 to 60 percent effective for the overall population.

So if you're discouraged by last year's results, don't be. This year, it's both important and effective to get vaccinated.

Most health insurance plans cover the shot (or charge a nominal copay), and Medicare and Medicaid also cover it.

If you're over 65, consider getting the high-dose, three-strain version (trivalent). A regular dose trivalent is now available for folks who are allergic to eggs (one version is cultured in eggs; the new one is grown in a cell culture instead).

Anyone age 18 to 64 can go for the quadrivalent version (four strains).

Overall, everyone six months and older, and all pregnant women, should be vaccinated.

Talk to your doc about the right form of the vaccine for you and your whole family.

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Fortunately, this year health authorities are expecting the vaccine to be much more effective
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2015-13-13
Tuesday, 13 Oct 2015 01:13 PM
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