Last year’s flu season proved to be a difficult one with many falling ill from a strain of the virus that mutated after the creation of the flu vaccine. Doctors have anticipated that this year will be different. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects the new flu shot to be much more effective than last year’s version.
Researchers measure the effectiveness of a vaccine by the number of patients who became sick after being vaccinated with the percentage of people who got sick and did not get vaccinated. The mutations occurring in the 2014-15 season made the vaccine only about 13% effective when the rate should be in the 50-60% range.
That particular strain of the H3N2 flu virus circulated widely and was not matched well to the H3N2 strain found in the vaccine. Scientists have created the new vaccine to include additional flu strains, making it a much better match to the strains of the virus now circulating. According to the CDC, the new injection includes last season's predominant strain along with other strains that have been prevalent in the Southern Hemisphere of the world recently.
Speaking at a media briefing last week, the director of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden urged, “The best way you can protect yourself against the flu is to get a flu vaccination this year, and now’s the time to start getting it.” Since it takes about 2 weeks for the injection to kick in, the earlier you get the shot, the sooner you are shielded against the potentially severe complications of the virus.
Frieden also reported, “So far, the strains in this year’s vaccine seem likely to match.” He added, "Even in a year when the flu virus isn't well matched, it remains the single best thing you can do to protect you, your family, and your community against influenza."
Urgent Clinics Medical Care is now offering flu shots at our walk-in clinics in Pearland, Champions, The Woodlands and 3 locations in League City: Creekside, Marina Bay and Tuscan Lakes. The flu shot for the 2015-2016 season provides protection against influenza A/H1N1, A/H3N2 and B. It is best to receive the vaccine by October each year before the flu season is in full swing. Early vaccination gives your body the chance to build-up immunity to the virus, providing you the greatest opportunity for defense.
Urgent Clinics Medical Care offers an inactivated influenza trivalent vaccine suitable for ages 4 and above. This flu shot contains non-infectious particles and cannot cause the flu. It is intended to provide protection against illness due to influenza, and does not protect against all respiratory illnesses. Patients 4 to 8 years of age that have never received the flu shot will require two doses given one month apart. Patients 8 years of age and above should receive a single injection annually.
The cost of the vaccine is $25. Make an appointment and we will come to you. On-site flu shots are $35 per person.
Walk-in today to any of our conveniently located clinics in the Houston area. Our friendly, experienced and licensed healthcare professionals are ready to help you protect your family against severe effects of the flu virus.