2018-2019 Flu Season: World-Renowned Flu Expert Is Hopeful About This Year’s Vaccine by 30Seconds Health
Flu season is fast approaching in the U.S., and on the 100-year anniversary of the 1918 flu pandemic, Dr. Richard Webby, one of a select group of scientists responsible for making recommendations for which flu vaccines will be put into circulation each year, is hopeful about the 2018-2019 flu vaccine composition’s ability to mitigate the virus currently in circulation.
“This year’s flu vaccine has been reformulated and updated based on last year’s historically bad flu season,” said Dr. Webby, a member of the Infectious Diseases Department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the World Health Organization’s Vaccine Composition Team. “Although it’s too early in the United States to make predictions, we can look to the Southern Hemisphere, where flu season is winding down, and see the dominant circulating viruses are better matched to the vaccine.”
Dr. Webby recently returned from a meeting of infectious disease doctors and flu virus experts in Atlanta, Ga., where they are closely tracking the match between circulating viruses and the vaccine. The 2018-2019 Southern hemisphere flu vaccine composition includes changes updating the vaccine’s defense against the H3N2 virus that caused much of last year’s worst flu cases in the U.S., as well as compositions related to the influenza B virus have also been updated.
“Although not perfect, the flu shot is a valuable and life-saving public health tool,” said Dr. Webby. “If the vaccine doesn’t prevent you from contracting the flu, it can still protect against the severity of the illness. We continue to highly recommend everyone get a flu shot or nasal mist for equal amounts of protection.”
Getting the flu vaccine isn’t just about protecting your health, it’s also about protecting those around you who are vulnerable like the elderly, children and those with serious health issues, said Dr. Webby. “The more people who get the flu shot, the less chance the virus can spread while protecting more people.”
During the 2017-2018 flu season, the deadliest flu season in four decades – 80,000 Americans died – including 180 children, 80 percent of whom died did not get vaccinated. The Surgeon General kicked-off the #FightFlu vaccination campaign earlier this month encouraging everyone to get the flu shot this season.
Dr. Webby wrote in Time last year that, “Getting the flu shot isn’t just about protecting your health. Vaccinations are also about protecting others.”
The information on 30Seconds.com is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information provided through this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider.
Do you get the flu shot? Why or why not?