HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » This years flu vaccine on...

Sat Dec 2, 2017, 08:46 PM

This years flu vaccine only 10% effective against dominant strain H3N2

Flu is spreading fast this year, with a severe season possible

To get an idea of what a flu season in the U.S. will look like, scientists like Schaffner observe what happens in Australia, which experiences winter and the flu while Americans are having summer. In the summer of 2017, the flu was diagnosed in more Australians than the previous season — 168,337 versus 91,000 — with H3N2 predominant.

How effective is the 2017 flu vaccine?

Unfortunately, the flu vaccine in Australia, which is the same one available this fall and winter in the United States, was only 10 percent effective in preventing illness from H3N2.

“Typically in years when the predominant strain is H3N2, there are more hospitalizations, more severe disease and people tend to get sicker,” said Dr. Michael Ison, a professor of infectious disease and organ transplantation at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.


Also, the vaccine protects against other flu strains.
“The protection against the others is much higher — 50 to 70 percent,” Schaffner said.


https://www.nbcnews.com/health/cold-and-flu/flu-spreading-fast-year-severe-season-possible-n825911?cid=sm_npd_nn_tw_ma





18 replies, 1867 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply This years flu vaccine only 10% effective against dominant strain H3N2 (Original post)
womanofthehills Dec 2017 OP
MFM008 Dec 2017 #1
GoneOffShore Dec 2017 #2
safeinOhio Dec 2017 #3
Ms. Toad Dec 2017 #4
PoindexterOglethorpe Dec 2017 #5
Ms. Toad Dec 2017 #7
GulfCoast66 Dec 2017 #9
USALiberal Dec 2017 #6
Ms. Toad Dec 2017 #8
Aristus Dec 2017 #11
Ms. Toad Dec 2017 #13
Aristus Dec 2017 #12
Ms. Toad Dec 2017 #14
Aristus Dec 2017 #10
Ms. Toad Dec 2017 #15
Meowmee Dec 2017 #16
KitSileya Dec 2017 #17
Meowmee Dec 2017 #18

Response to womanofthehills (Original post)

Sat Dec 2, 2017, 08:55 PM

1. terrific

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to womanofthehills (Original post)

Sat Dec 2, 2017, 08:58 PM

2. Still got my flu shot. And glad that I did.

I know too many immuno-compromised people not to get jabbed.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to womanofthehills (Original post)

Sat Dec 2, 2017, 09:35 PM

3. I hope the senior one

is more like 20% effective.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to womanofthehills (Original post)

Sat Dec 2, 2017, 09:45 PM

4. Yup. But let's fire everyone in health care who hasn't gotten a flu shot.



The particular flu strains covered by vaccines in any given year are an educated guess. With the flu, as often as not, the guess doesn't pan out.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/from-an-uncertain-process-of-guesses-and-science-each-years-flu-vaccines-emerge/2015/01/08/efc6e010-9744-11e4-aabd-d0b93ff613d5_story.html?utm_term=.7ac3fa0fd0ee

Data from the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/index.html)

2017/18 - bad match (10% for the worst strain of influenza A; 50-70% for the others)

2016/17 - According to data from the U.S. Flu Vaccine Effectiveness Network, interim estimates show flu vaccine has been 48% effective in preventing medically-attended influenza A and B illness. Interim effectiveness estimates against the predominant influenza A (H3N2) viruses are 43% while the interim effectiveness estimate against influenza B viruses is 73%.

2015/16 - CDC’s adjusted overall VE estimate against influenza A and B viruses for all ages was 47%. The overall VE against A(H1N1)pdm09 was 41%] and the overall VE against influenza B was 55%.

2014/15 - CDC’s adjusted overall VE estimate against influenza A and B viruses for all ages was 23%. The adjusted VE estimate against influenza A (H3N2) viruses for all ages was 13%.

2013/14 - Influenza A - 98.9%; influenza B - 70.6%

If predictions were perfect, and we could create something close to herd immunity - or even reliable protection of a class of workers more likely to transmit it to a vulnerable population, I would be more supportive of at least requring health care workers to get the shot.

As it is, people get the shot - feel invulnerable because they are immunized - and then come to work and infect everyone around because they can't believe they actually have the flu. In addition if you feel there is not a real risk of acquiring the flu, you are likely to be less likely to use best practices to avoid transmission. I used to work for people who religiously got the flu shots - and then came to work sick because they couldn't possibly have the flu - because they got immunized. Because they were pretending they were not ill, they put their germy hands all over everything in the office. Then pretty much everyone in the office got sick. Except me.

It is not that hard to stay reasonably safe from transmission of the flu or colds. I have not had a flu shot (ever) and have not had the flu since 2009.

*Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
*Never touch door handles/knobs/anything else that people frequently touch with your bare hands. In winter it's relatively easy - I just pull my hands inside my long sleeves. In warmer times, when it is usually the bathroom door I have to touch, I use my paper towel to open the door and either toss it into the can in the bathroom, or if it isn't properly positioned I take the towel with me.
*Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially if you accidentally touch something with your bare hands.
*Carry hand sanitizer and use it - on your hands, and on your things that someone else has touched (once they are out of sight)
*Stay home if you're sick; encourage your workers/fellow employees to stay home if they are sick
*If you aren't staying home, redouble your efforts at the above and wear a mask.

It has been 100% effective for me for the last 8 years, since I started being very attentive to my own behavior. That was in advance of a surgery that I didn't want to postpone due to illness when the aforementioned boss came to work sick within 2 weeks of my scheduled surgery. I knew not only did his behavior put me at risk, but that before my surgery nearly everyone in the office would (and did) catch it from him. That's a much better track record than flu vaccination has, and my current job puts me in close enough contact with about 100 people a week to catch it from any one of them.

I haven't ruled it out in the future, as I get frailer - but for now, me and my immunologically challenged system will take our chances.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ms. Toad (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 2, 2017, 09:57 PM

5. Thank you for being a voice of reason.

I don't get the flu shot, although I'm not discounting the possibility that at some time in the future I might start getting it.

Hand washing is the most important thing. I've personally never worried about touching handles and doorknobs, and I'm unimpressed with the effectiveness of those sanitizers.

More to the point, I think that people are unaware of the incredible effectiveness of handwashing, and are unaware that a hundred years ago (during the last great Pandemic) very few people had indoor running water, and therefore regular handwashing was infrequent.

Oh, and I read recently that the yearly death rates from influenza are quite steady, at least in this country, regardless of the particular brand of flu that year and regardless of the vaccine.

I recall getting flu any number of times in my childhood, and before I was about 20. I suspect I was exposed to (and came down with) enough different kinds that I have as permanent an immunity as anyone can have. Keep in mind that the reason old people didn't get flu in the terrible 1918 epidemic is that a similar strain had made the rounds some 50 years earlier, so they'd either gotten it then and were now immune, or had a natural immunity.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 2, 2017, 10:22 PM

7. I expect to get smacked down royally

and called anti-science (even though my primary educational background is science).

Alcohol (the main ingredient in hand sanitizers) kills most bacteria and virus - so especially when I don't have a bathroom handy (or I need to handle something that can't easily be cleaned with soap and water) I use them as a back-up.

As for handles - that was the single most consistent behavior change from pre-2009 to post-2009.

The natural immunization/cross-over from similar strains of flu is one of the main reasons I don't get an immunization. If there's something going around I haven't been exposed to directly (or to a viral next of kin), I would still prefer not to have it - but if the choice is between creating immunity via vaccine or illness, my second choice would be to create immunity via the illness. If the disease is non-fatal, the immune system response creates more robust antibody response to an illness than to an immunization. The last time I was tested for antibodies to certain illnesses, I had antibodies to everything we tested for that I actually had as a child, but no antibodies to diseses for which I'd merely been vaccinated.

So, while it is absolutely critial that we not try to create immunity through illness to life-threatening diseases (like polio, tetanus, hepatits, etc.) even those vaccinations may create a false sense of security because the immunity is often not permanent. And decades after they were introduced, we're still just realizing that it doesn't last as long as predicted.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/10/25/rise-in-mumps-outbreaks-prompts-u-s-panel-to-endorse-3rd-vaccine-dose/?utm_term=.b49a17ac6f53

I actually had the mumps as a child, and it is one of the viruses to which I still had antibodies 3 decades later (I have not been tested recently). Nearly 3/4 of the people in this outbreak who never had the mumps, but were vaccinated (and believed they were safe) apparently had no (or insufficient) antibodies in as short a time frame as 2 decades post vaccination (college age),

At a minimum, we need more knowledge about the duration of the vaccine-created antibodies, and a better education system targeting young adults - college age or early parenting - to remind them to get boosters for life-threating illnesses they are likely to be exposed to (or at least to have an antibody titer run) to be sure they still have sufficient protection.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ms. Toad (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 3, 2017, 01:00 AM

9. When you post bullshit you will get smacked down

So you got tested and you are apparently ‘special’. You know antibodies only against real infections. Even though there is no difference between the vaccine immunity and actual illness. At least in the real science world. Yeah, tetanus vaccine only last a decade or so. Try getting tetanus untreated and you will not ever need another vaccine. You will be dead.

But where you deserve real scorn is the whole ‘non-fatal’ bullshit. The flu is fatal for near about 100k people per year. But because you will probably live, fuck those old folks because you apparently only believe in herd immunity that helps you.

Guess what? I did not have mumps like you because my parents believe in science and I was vaccinated. And my god kids will never have children pox like I did because they are vaccinated.

So enjoy getting the fku, which may well kill you. I may get it as well, but will trust in science to produce the best possible vaccine to prevent my premature death.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ms. Toad (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 2, 2017, 10:11 PM

6. I cannot believe this is a huge number.........

"people get the shot - feel invulnerable because they are immunized - and then come to work and infect everyone around because they can't believe they actually have the flu."

Really?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to USALiberal (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 2, 2017, 10:28 PM

8. I don't know how large it is - but our entire office was repeatedly sick

because 16% of our office believed that. It was a very small office - so that was only 2 people.

My spouse is also in that category. She gets the flu shot every year - and about half of the time also comes down with the flu. I actually can't tell how serious she is about insisting it is not the flu, but she says she doesn't have the flu because she got the flu shot and goes to work with it.

I may run in very odd circles, but my experience is that there is a significant body of people who believe that they can't get the flu because of the shot and - while they might not dream of going to work with the flu, feel it is perfectly appropriate to go to work with a (much less serious) cold. So they pretend/fool themselves into thinking that what they have is a cold. Despite the aching muscles, exhaustion, and fever of 101+.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ms. Toad (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 3, 2017, 01:15 AM

11. Every time I question a patient regarding the symptoms of what they have mistaken as the flu

it turns out not to be the flu. Nausea and vomiting without decreased oxygen saturation and respiratory distress are not the flu.

Get your vaccine.

I've posted a reply below that really should be the bottom line on the subject.

I don't want to hear about the millions of people you consider close friends and relatives who get the flu from the flu shot. It's nonsense.

Get your vaccine.



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Aristus (Reply #11)

Sun Dec 3, 2017, 02:07 AM

13. I agree with you as to what is NOT the flu.

My spouse and the office workers have had the flu. I know quite well that nausea and vomiting are uncommon symptoms of influenza, even though many people mistakenly label a stomach disorder (viral, bacterial, food poisoning, etc.) the flu. You should not assume that I am mistaking a stomach bug for the flu, especially since I expressly identified the primary symptoms they were experiencing - which did not include nausea and vomiting.

Please read more carefully. I did not ever, nor would I ever - except in very unusual circumstances, suggest that anyone got the flu from the flu shot. (That is impossible, aside from extremely uncommon circumstances in which a person with a compromised immune system is vaccinated wtih live attenuated influenza virus. The vaccination most people receive contains inactiviated virus, and the vast majority of people are not immunocompromised to the level that would make even an LAIV vaccine risky.)

In fact my initial post in this thread uses CDC statistics to demonstrate the issue the OP raised, and the reason that my coworkers and spouse get the flu about half the time despite having been vaccinated:

We're just not that good about predicting what strain of the flu will be coming around in a given season. If the immunization targets the wrong strains, it provides little to no protection. People who aren't protected - and who are exposed - have a good chance of coming down with the flu. Hence my coworkers and spouse are coming down with influenza not because they received a vaccination, but in spite of it - because over the past 4 seasons, the vaccination only 47% of the influenza A predictions were on target, and only 52% of the influenza B predictions were on target. That's a coin toss, and hte average is higher than normal because in one of the 4 years they actually managed to accurately predict the strains - but in two years they were 10% and 13% accurate - they missed nearly 90% of the viruses.

I have no intention of getting the vaccine at this stage of my life, with my current health status. Period.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ms. Toad (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 3, 2017, 01:47 AM

12. You seem to be unaware of how vaccines work.

If you get vaccinated, you will not be a vector for transmitting the infection to anyone else.

The way vaccines work is: it's not that you get sick with the flu and then get better; you don't get sick at all. The viral antibodies prevent you from getting the specific illness the vaccine is for.

If you are ignorant of this fact, congratulations, you are no longer ignorant.

If you are aware of this, and are deliberately spreading misinformation, stop doing that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Aristus (Reply #12)

Sun Dec 3, 2017, 02:32 AM

14. Try ignoring the assumptions you leapt to and reread for comprehension

Nowhere did I suggest that vaccines work by making people ill with the flu. That is scientific nonsense, except for the LAIV which can make severely immunocompromised people ill (but those individuals would likely not produce a sufficient quantity of antibodies to create ongoing protection anyway).

The problem is that vaccination only prevents vaccinated individuals from becoming a vectors for transmission when the season's vaccine target correct strains of the virus and actually prevents them from developing influenza.

This year, the vaccine only protects against 10% of the most severe strain. In other words, approximately 90% of this year's exposure is to influenza A strains OTHER THAN the ones contained in the vaccine.

So, on average, if you vaccinated 100 people who would have developed influenza A this year without vaccination, 90 of them would still develop influenza this year - because the vaccine did not expose their immune systems to inactivated virus of particular strains they were exposed to..

I am not spreading misinformation. In contrast, you have either not taken the time to carefully read what I said, you don't understand the science of vaccine strain selection (or the implications thereof), or you are intentionally misstating what I said.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to womanofthehills (Original post)

Sun Dec 3, 2017, 01:13 AM

10. Cut the shit. Everyone: get your flu vaccine. Bottom line.

I will go on record as stating I don't care what your particular prejudice is. I don't care what your great aunt Regret told you. I don't care what your Google search turned up. And I don't give a shit about Jenny McCarthy except to say she looks good wearing nothing at all.

Get your flu vaccine. Any response of yours contradicting this is whistling past the graveyeard.

Get your vaccine.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Aristus (Reply #10)

Sun Dec 3, 2017, 02:52 AM

15. My research came from the CDC website.

The article in the OP cites CDC information for this year. Hardly Google, Jenny McCarthy, or great aunt Regret.

You apparently do not understand that the strains suggested annually by the WHO consultation and adopted by FDA for the US are, on average, very poor matches for the strains that show up in any given year. Over the past 4 cycles, the match is about 50% - a little better for influenza B, a little worse for influenza A. But basically a coin toss.

This year it is worse than usual for the most dangerous strains - the match is only about 10%. That means that there is little protection offered by the vaccine this year becuase 90 out of 100 strains an individual will encounter are not targeted by this year's vaccine.

So this year my unvaccinated self is nearly as safe from influenza as your vaccinated self.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to womanofthehills (Original post)

Sun Dec 3, 2017, 03:44 AM

16. I never

Got flu vaccines for most of my life and I never had the flu until 3 years ago when an unvaccinated family member brought it home. The 2 years before that and that year I did get the vaccines due to it being recommended for health reasons for myself. I become ill immediately each time I recieve the vaccine for at least 2 weeks to a month. That year I had both the flu and pneumonia vaccines and I also had frozen shoulders in both arms. Not fun. Then in May I got flu B. They said the vaccine was much less effective that year because the viruses had mutated and it is usually only about 65% effective on average. I had a high fever and a terrible cough but I was ok and I didn’t need to go to the hospital etc. The doctor I went to said it was too late for the viral treatment and I was ok etc. Now my family gets the vaccines and I don’t. I wash my hands all the time and I don’t touch things like door knobs when I’m out. If I do hands are washed immediately with probiotic cleansers.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Meowmee (Reply #16)

Sun Dec 3, 2017, 03:23 PM

17. This is why it is sooo important for people who are able to get the vaccines

Because there are always people who for different reasons cannot. Either because they're too young, or immuno-suppressed, or because they react adversely to vaccines. We know that. We know that not 100% of the population can get vaccines, but the only way to stop the weakest among us getting sick is to close off as many vectors of contagion as possible.

As you rightly say, meowmee, since you get sick from the vaccines, your family members who do not need to get vaccines to protect you. In my family, my brother had an adverse reaction to his first vaccine as a baby, so he hasn't had all his vaccines. It is therefore imperative that we around him make sure we get the vaccines we can. He was lucky enough to survive without complications the mumps as a child - adult men who get the mumps sometimes get sterile, while some kids become brain damaged, deaf, or suffer from pancreatitis (which heightens the risk of diabetes type 3c and pancreatic cancer down the line.)

Right now, all our family have had the flu vaccine since a close family member is doing chemotherapy. I am fully aware that if I get even the sniffles just before Christmas, I'll be staying home and not celebrating with my family who will be with my sick family member. That's how dangerous it is for them to get so much as a cold right now. A viral infection could kill them - a childhood disease most likely will. They have to restrict their contact with strangers, and their kids aren't allowed to bring friends home because they live in a trendy area with lots of anti-vaxxers who think having a child with autism is worse than a dead kid, or killing others.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to KitSileya (Reply #17)

Sun Dec 3, 2017, 06:47 PM

18. I agree completely

As many people as possible should be vaccinated to protect others. I‘m not anti vaccine and I’ve had many other vaccines for the serious childhood stuff and sometimes with quite a bad reaction. For my cats though sometimes it’s recommended not to if they are older or compromised and they are inside. I had planned to try it again this year to also protect my family but I got sick right at that time and I was also worried about having a bad reaction again. If there is a really bad flu such as in the epidemics in Europe it could be a big problem.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread