Health experts urge residents to get flu shots

08 November, 2017, 00:10 | Author: Joy Garcia
  • Goldstream Gazette file

Last year's influenza vaccine reduced the number of flu-related visits to the doctor by 42 percent, and the vacine reduced the specific strain of flu virus by even less, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most flu vaccine proteins are purified from a virus grown in chicken eggs, although a small fraction of flu vaccine proteins are produced in systems that do not involve eggs.

"We need to get away from the antiquated production model, which the egg is", said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Some protection against H3N2 viruses is better than nothing and other components of the vaccine, like H1N1 and influenza B, will likely provide excellent protection this year".

"An ideal influenza vaccine would be cheap, provide long-lasting immunity, require few immunizations and would work against all variants of the virus", Weaver said.

This means the flu shot is free to all children six months to five years of age, people 65 and older and adults, including pregnant women, and children with chronic health conditions and compromised immune systems.

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Mice protected by the unconventional vaccine survived exposure to lethal doses of seven of nine widely divergent influenza viruses. The eggs are then allowed to incubate, and in turn, this allows the virus to replicate. They only know at the end of the season if their vaccine was a good match. "We can protect ourselves and also our family, friends and the community", said family nurse practitioner Sarah Fincham, assistant clinical professor at Washington State University's college of nursing in Spokane. They adopt genetic changes that help them grow in the egg environment.

During the 2014-2015 flu season, a strain of the H3N2 virus with a different outer layer protein emerged and this version of H3N2 remains prevalent today.

Scientific American explains all the medical details very simply - In 2014, the H3N2 virus began wearing a new molecule on one of its surface proteins. There are now two non-chicken egg flu vaccines made in the U.S. One is FLUCELVAX, and is grown in canine kidney cells, and the second, Flublok, is grown in insect cells.

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