Flu Vaccine Not As Effective Against This Year's Most Common Str - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Flu Vaccine Not As Effective Against This Year's Most Common Strain

Zora Asberry
NewsWest 9 

ODESSA - The flu season is in full swing and many people are getting their flu shots but there are some concerns that the vaccine may not be as effective.

Doctors and health officials are urging people to get out and get the flu vaccine to protect you from the seasons most common strain, H3N2. 

"Anytime you get a vaccine it does not guarantee a 100 percent that you wont get the disease, it just decreases the chance or decreases the severity of the illness," Dr. Lawrence Voesak with Medical Center Hospital Urgent Care Facility, said.

This years vaccine covers other strains of the flu but due to a mutation of the H3N2 strain, the vaccine may not be as effective as it's been in previous years.

"The CDC's recommendation is that people still continue to get the flu vaccine. As far as effectiveness, right now it's running at about 48 percent effective. We may see that change as the flu season continues. If the virus continues to mutate, we may see the effectiveness drop," Voesak said. 

The H3N2 virus is the most common strain this flu season but it isn't the only strain that is covered by the vaccine. 

"It covers the H3N2 and also a Type B strain. So far this season, we've had one patient test positive for Type B but Type A is more common this year. Next year when they design the vaccine, it typically is designed on previous experience with previous strains of flu that have come through," Voesak said. 

If you don't get the vaccine, some preventative measures include washing your hands, drinking plenty of fluids, taking Pro Vitamins and over-the-counter medication. 

"Also different sinus medicines, those are all things to do when you start feeling sick. It's when the problem progresses and you don't get better then it's time to be checked," Voesak said.

If you're looking to prevent the flu this year, many clinics and Wal-Mart stores are offering the flu vaccine. For more information on finding a clinic near you, visit http://www.procareodessa.com/default.aspx.  
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