Fickle Flu Shot

There’s a weak link in the flu vaccine, according to data being presented this week at an infectious diseases conference in San Diego.

Designed to protect against several strains of flu, the vaccine cut the risk of infection by influenza A H3N2 by an average of only 38% in recent years. It offered much better protection against the H1N1 subtype and influenza B, cutting the risk of infection by 60 to 75%, new research shows.

“H3N2 is clearly where we have the biggest problem and that’s also of greatest concern because H3N2 is the virus that accounts for most of the hospitalization and mortality in seniors,” said Dr. Edward Belongia, an influenza epidemiologist at Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation.

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