Health officials ready for seasonal flu shots early this year

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H1N1 swine flu pandemic killed thousands and sickened millions of people nationwide, during last flu season. The biggest challenges faced by the health authorities were rapid spread of the disease, time needed to develop H1N1 vaccine and shortage of H1N1 vaccine supply. This year government has done their calculation beforehand to speed the production of flu vaccine and planning to reach more people, even before flu season. Health experts are expecting that H1N1 may be back this year, but not with the same pace and intensity as last year.

Flu Vaccination
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) flu vaccine should be taken by all Americans ages six months and older, except those who have allergies like egg allergy, certain health conditions and need recommendation from doctor.  The government is approaching people to get the shots, even before flu season and recommended that there is no danger in getting the vaccine too soon. The protection should last throughout the flu season, which typically runs from November to April.

To meet expected need, five manufacturers are producing about 165 million doses, which is the highest quantity ever produced.  Last year 120 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine and 90 million doses of H1N1 vaccine were distributed, according to CDC. Experts say that if all goes as planned, there will be no shortage of shots this year.

The government is planning to invest nearly $2 billion to help researchers and biotechnology companies for developing new drugs, vaccines and equipment to shorten the...



duration of producing flu vaccines. Currently, it takes six- to nine-months to produce a flu vaccine.

 

Health officials said like traditional vaccines there is no need to get shots for flu, H1N1 swine flu and others separately. This year’s shot includes vaccinations against three strains of flu, including H1N1, a new variant of a run-of-the-mill strain, known as H3N2, and an influenza B strain.  It is expected that H1N1 swine flu might return this year and possibly targeting the young generation. Besides, H3N2, and an influenza B strain are also expected to make people sick as they have circulated widely in the southern hemisphere’s flu season in recent months, according to health officials. H3N2 strain can cause severe flu cases among the elderly.

 

Don’t miss and get you vaccination soon in nearby health clinic. No one can exactly predict how safe will the flu season be, this year.

Source: wsj.com

 

 

3 Responses

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