MARQUETTE COUNTY — According to recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control, this season’s flu vaccine is not an exact match of the current virus for influenza B. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your flu shot will be ineffective.
Every year the World Health Organization determines what the most likely virus will be during flu season. That determination is what the flu vaccine is based on. Because the exact virus cannot be predicted, the flu vaccine sometimes does not exactly match the actual virus.
The good news is that flu shots can protect against either three or four types of influenza. That means that even though one of the types this year is not a perfect match of the flu vaccine, others are.
Dr. Kevin Piggott, Medical Director for the Marquette County Health Department, says that the Upper Peninsula in particular is actually seeing much more of the kind of influenza that the flu shot does protect against.
“We actually in the U.P. are seeing more influenza A than influenza B, which is a little different from the rest of the nation,” said Dr. Piggott. “And the match for Influenza A in the vaccine is very good.”
It is still recommended that everyone get their flu shot if they have not already. The shot will still protect against influenza A, and it will likely prevent influenza B from being as severe for those who do contract the virus.
“Overall the vaccine itself is not a bad match,” explained Dr. Piggott. “It’s not ideal, but it is still our best way to protect ourselves from influenza. The concern in regard to the influenza B not being a perfect match, that is true, but it’s not a total mismatch either. And still if you were to be exposed to influenza B and you were immunized, there still is a reasonable likelihood that you’ll be protected or it will reduce the severity of it.”
For more information on this year’s flu virus, read more from this week’s CDC Influenza Surveillance Report.