Each day the news reports that another child has died from this year’s flu virus.  The flu outbreak keeps creeping from area to area ravaging communities.  One school had to be closed and disinfected.  It is curious because an airborne virus like the flu is nearly impossible to destroy this way.  Instead, closing the school seems to have stopped the spread by keeping people away from each other.  The malls and grocery stores have hand sanitizers but, other than making people feel better to do something, this will not stop the progression of the flu.

The CDC’s website advises that “It’s best to get vaccinated before flu begins spreading in your community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu.”  Although the flu virus has changes (referred to as “drift”), the CDC claims that, “antibodies made in response to vaccination with one flu virus can sometimes provide protection against different but related flu viruses.” Therefore, the CDC admits that the effectiveness of this year’s version of the vaccine might be diminished because the circulating flu virus has changed.

“There are many different flu viruses and they are constantly changing. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses. Flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses (depending on vaccine) that research suggests will be most common. For 2017-2018, three-component vaccines are recommended to contain:

  • an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated)
  • an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus
  • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus

Quadrivalent (four-component) vaccines, which protect against a second lineage of B viruses, are recommended to be produced using the same viruses recommended for the trivalent vaccines, as well as a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus.”  https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm

At least, the public feels that they can do something to keep their family safe.  The pharmaceutical companies also profit the more people panic and take the flu shot.  A win, win? There are no winners by the continued deaths from this year’s strain of the flu virus.

Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News. A practicing attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Ruggieri is also chairperson of Edison Township’s Planning Board. Additionally, she has served as a college professor, with nearly a decade of experience in teaching law and political science courses.