Should you get the flu shot? This is a common question out there each year. Why? Sometimes it seems like those who get the shot are the ones who end up ill. Think about it, you get the shot and then soon thereafter have the worst headache and dry throat of your life anyway. Meanwhile, your best friend at work who forgot about the vaccine is doing well.
The truth is there are some explanations as to why the flu shot seems to fail at times, and why scientist nonetheless think they can get it right in most cases.
How They Develop the Flu Vaccine Each Year
Each year, before the October to May flu season, scientists develop the vaccine batch. It is necessary to have the vaccine ready for use in wellness centers, hospitals, clinics and pharmacies by the start of the season. Moreover, scientists must have the right antidote to combat the current dominant flu strain.
There are three major strains H1N1, H3N2, and influenza B, that affect humans. During the off-season, North American scientists observe what happens to flu sufferers in South America, and vice-versa. This sharing of information results in better vaccine coverage each year.
Why the Flu Vaccine Fails
The seemingly foolproof creation process fails at times, such as in 2014, because flu is a living virus capable of mutating. When this happens, the effectiveness of the vaccine, aimed at the dominant strain, whether H1N1, H3N2 or B, lessens. In 2014, the H3N2 vaccine proved only 23% effective against the so-called "Swiss Variant of H3N2." Most North Americans who received the vaccination nonetheless felt sick to some degree.
Can Scientists Do Better?
Yes, the scientific community believes it can develop a better vaccine each succeeding year. They have been able to cut down on the amount of time needed to get the vaccine to care providers. Thus, they can wait later to develop it, allowing them a longer time to observe the current South American strain. In the case of the 2015-2016 flu season, South Americans are suffering overwhelmingly from H3N2 again, providing North America with data from two consecutive seasons to develop a strong vaccine.
Go Into a Wellness Center to Get a Shot
So, should you get a flu shot? As shown here, the answer is yes. It is best to go into a wellness center for a vaccine and checkup.
Even when the vaccine is 23% effective, as in 2014, that level of protection beats nothing. Moreover, those who receive vaccines and still catch the flu should remember that their condition could have been worse without it.
For more information on staying heathy, contact a center like Cherry Creek Wellness Center, Inc.