Flu vaccines might not be as effective against virus

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)- Health officials are warning people this year’s flu vaccine may not prevent you from getting sick.

Eighty-three year old Ophelia Hancock and eighty-eight year old Clara Harris have been taking the flu shot for more than 25 years.

“It keeps you from having the flu and if you do have it it keeps it from being so severe,” Hancock says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the current flu vaccine is not as effective against this year’s strains of influenza.

The vaccine typically prevents three or four strains of the virus, but a particular strain called H3N2 has mutated. Health officials say that makes the vaccine not as effective.

“Is their anything we can take in addition to that to ensure we are safe?” Harris said.

Mercer University School of Medicine Professor Dr. Jeffrey Stephens says the public should not be alarmed.

“There are strains that are different than last years flu shot and is not surprising because that’s what the flu does, and the flu shot that they made for this flu season is based on last year’s strain, and most of the time they guess pretty well,” Stephens said.

Dr. Stephens tells 41NBC the vaccine you received can still help prevent you from the influenza virus.

Although medical experts advise getting a vaccine every year, but some people don’t.

“I just know what it did to me, I probably wouldn’t want my grandchildren to take it,” Wanda Luttrell said.

As for Hancock and Harris, they have never had the flu. They credit that to getting a vaccine every year.

Dr. Stephens recommends anyone six months and older should get a flu shot. He says this does not guarantee a person will not get the influenza virus, but it will help prevent it.

Categories: Bibb County, Local News

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