The 2015 flu vaccine will be much better than last year's, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.
According to Newsweek
, mutations in last year's dominant flu strain, H3N2, rendered flu shots less than 13 percent effective. Usually, flu shots are 50 to 60 percent effective.
By the end of the last flu season, the CDC had classified it as "moderately severe" and "especially severe" in adults 65 and older. 145 children died from the flu last season, while usually the average is around 100
"It was a disappointing year from the point of view of what the vaccine can do," Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University and the medical director at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, told ABC News
This year, scientists are on the lookout for the same "viral drift."
"At the moment, we have reasonable confidence that we are going to have a good match between the circulating virus of what’s out there and what’s in the vaccine," Schaffner said.
The flu vaccine should be available to the public in October. Flu season usually begins in the fall, and peaks in January or February. On average, anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population will get the flu each year.
Epidemiologists stressed the importance of getting a flu shot for oneself, but also because it helps protect others.
"Our study suggests that adults who have contact with the elderly should make a particular effort to receive an influenza vaccine. This includes both people who have elderly relatives in their households and people who have routine contact with the elderly," said Glen B. Taksler of the Cleveland Clinic, Reuters reported
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