Flu Shots May Be Even Less Effective This Year

Just as publicity about the need for everyone to get a flu shot ramps up, there are signs that the influenza vaccine for this “flu season” (2019-2020) may be even less effective this year than last year.

The strains of the influenza virus selected by the World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. health officials for vaccine manufacturers to include in this year’s flu shot for the North Hemisphere (including the United States) may turn out to be a ‘mismatch,’ according to epidemiologist Danuta Skowronski, MD of the British Columbia Center for Disease Control in Vancouver, Canada. 1, 2

In February 2019, the WHO recommended the “influenza B virus component of trivalent vaccines for use in the 2019-2020 northern hemisphere influenza season be a B/Colorado,” and the A(H3N2) component in March. In September, the WHO selected different A/H3N2 influenza virus strains for the Southern Hemisphere, suggesting to Dr. Skowronski that the earlier strain prediction may be wrong. 3, 4

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