Every year, the influenza vaccine is modified to best fight new strands of the virus in the next flu season. Recently, the World Health Organization announced the strains that would make up the flu vaccine in 2017-2018.
An annual vaccine for influenza is recommended for all people over the age of six months in order to prevent the illness. The flu shot is highly recommended for anyone over the age of 65. This age group is often at a higher risk of complications with the flu. Each year, the vaccine’s composition is changed to fit updated strains of the influenza virus.
The CDC offers many variations of the flu vaccine.
The most common of these are the standard trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines.
Trivalent vaccines protect from three strains of the flu: two A strains and one B strains.
Quadrivalent vaccines protect from four flu strains: two A strains and two B strains. This kind of vaccine is quickly becoming the most popular to prevent catching the virus.
Here’s a look at what these 2017-2018 flu vaccines will help prevent:
- A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
- A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus
- B/Brisbane/60/2008-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus
- In addition to the 3 strains mentioned above-
- B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus
This composition is slightly different than the 2016-17 vaccine, with an update to the influenza A(H1N1) component.
These strains were selected based on data collected by the WHO including:
- Surveillance data from the global virological networks
- Research into the genetic makeup of common influenza strains
- Human serology studies
- Genetic Characterization of viruses
- Research data based on immune responses to influenza strains
- Antiviral resistance
- Vaccine effectiveness
The vaccines recommended for the Northern Hemisphere are the same as those for the Southern Hemisphere.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, vaccine effectiveness can vary. This is the reason for small changes that are made to the vaccine every year. Flu activity during the 2016-2017 flu season was considered moderate, peaking in the middle of February.
Every flu season offers new strains of the virus. With these changes to the vaccine, the PHAC hopes to protect from the most virulent strains of the virus. By doing so, the vaccine can protect the largest number of people from this potentially deadly virus.
The PHAC recommends receiving a flu shot to protect against spreading the virus. The vaccine can also help a person’s immune system better fight off illness if they do contract the virus.
If you would like to schedule your flu shot now for the upcoming 2017-2018 flu season, contact a Passport Health Flu Specialist. You can schedule an appointment online or call at . Passport Health also offers on-site flu vaccinations.
For more information on this flu season, check out Passport Health’s influenza page.
Written for Passport Health by Kaitlyn Luckow. Kaitlyn is a freelance writer, photographer and English teacher in Milwaukee. She has a passion for capturing and writing other people’s stories. You can find her at sayhellostory.com.