The Importance of Understanding Flu Vaccine Effectiveness
As the flu season arrives, it is crucial to understand the effectiveness of the 2017-2018 flu vaccine and the implications it has for public health. At Richardson Law Firm PC, we aim to provide comprehensive information about the flu vaccine to help individuals make informed decisions about their health and well-being.
What Does the 36% Effective Rate Mean?
The reported 36% effectiveness of the 2017-2018 flu vaccine may cause concern for many. It is important to note that this percentage represents the vaccine's overall effectiveness in preventing influenza-associated medical visits across all age groups. While it may seem low, it is crucial to understand the complexities of viral strains and how they impact vaccine effectiveness.
The Influence of Viral Strains on Vaccine Effectiveness
Each year, experts at organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) work tirelessly to predict which flu strains are most likely to circulate during the upcoming season. Vaccine manufacturers base their production on these predictions to provide the most relevant protection.
However, the flu virus is known for its ability to mutate and evolve, making it challenging to develop a vaccine that provides complete protection against all strains. During the 2017-2018 season, the predominant circulating strain, H3N2, underwent significant changes that caused the vaccine to be less effective against this particular strain.
Why is H3N2 so Challenging?
H3N2 is notorious for its ability to mutate rapidly, rendering vaccines less effective. This strain poses a greater risk, especially for the elderly and individuals with compromised immune systems, who are more susceptible to severe complications from the flu.
Vaccine Effectiveness Across Different Age Groups
It is essential to note that vaccine effectiveness can vary across different age groups due to differences in immune responses and overall health. While the 2017-2018 flu vaccine showed a lower effectiveness of 36% overall, it offered greater protection for children and adults aged 6 months to 8 years, with effectiveness rates reaching up to 59% in these age groups.
Protecting Yourself During the Flu Season
Although the effectiveness of the flu vaccine can fluctuate from season to season, it remains an essential tool in preventing the spread of the virus and reducing the severity of illness for those who do get infected. Alongside getting vaccinated, there are additional measures everyone can take to protect themselves and others:
- Practice Good Hygiene: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after coughing, sneezing, or being in public spaces.
- Use Hand Sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol content.
- Stay Home If You're Sick: If you have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, or body aches, it's important to stay home to avoid spreading the virus to others.
- Avoid Close Contact: Try to avoid close contact with individuals who are sick, and if you are sick, keep a distance from others to prevent transmission.
- Cover Your Mouth and Nose: Use a tissue or your elbow to cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets.
Consult with Richardson Law Firm PC for Legal Assistance
At Richardson Law Firm PC, we understand that medical issues, including vaccine effectiveness, can raise concerns and questions. If you require legal assistance or have questions about vaccines and your rights, our experienced team is here to help.
Contact Richardson Law Firm PC today for reliable and personalized legal guidance related to medical matters and any other legal concerns you may have. Trust us to navigate the complexities of the law and provide the support you need.