FDA already working on next year's flu vaccine

America's Nightmare Flu Season Is Finally Coming to an End

America's Nightmare Flu Season Is Finally Coming to an End

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee will consider whether to change the flu vaccine for next year as the country faces a worse-than-expected flu season.

"So far, the data we have suggests that the viruses provided by reference laboratories to manufacturers to make this year's vaccines do reasonably match the circulating flu strains that are causing most of the illnesses, including H3N2", Gottlieb said. While healthcare professionals continue to combat this year's flu - which may continue to affect Americans into April - we're already partnering with other public health agencies to conduct essential work to produce next season's influenza vaccines.

It typically takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to become effective in your body.

This year's flu vaccine was just 25 percent effective against H3N2, according to the CDC.

Last week, there were half as many new cases of H3N2 as the week before, but the strain's decline is "basically mirroring the increase in influenza B", says CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund.

Against all types of influenza, its effectiveness is 36 percent; among children aged 6 months through 8 years, its effectiveness is 59 percent. "The vaccine is never flawless, but is does appear to still have some protectiveness to it". We're also looking at the difference in effectiveness in people 65 years and older who were vaccinated with high-dose influenza vaccine and adjuvanted influenza vaccine to see if effectiveness was better than in those vaccinated with standard dose vaccines. Add Flu Season as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Flu Season news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

Some theories: Maybe protection against H3N2 requires "a higher amount of H3N2 antigen to elicit a proper immune response", compared to that needed against other strains, Gottlieb said. Dr. Willaim Schaffner who is the Vanderbilt University Flu expert tells,"The vaccine itself contains only purified parts of the virus; there is no live virus in the injectable vaccine, so it is impossible for the vaccine to cause the disease". "Clearly states that the vaccination is at least part of the problem if not the whole problem".

"Pneumonia is a very common secondary infection that people get after having had the flu and you can only test for flu for a very short period of time", Anton said.

Worobey said the research is reshaping how flu vaccines will be made in the future, impacting the national strategy for dealing with the pathogen.

"We're planning for the flu all year", Powell said.

Here in Tift County, there have been roughly 490 confirmed flu cases at Tift Regional Medical Center as of February 18, according to data from Tift Regional Health Systems.

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