Abysmal Flu Shot Preformance

CDC Data Week Ending March 5, 2022

You probably know, I’ve said it before here, that the flu shot is but an advanced educated guess of the three or four possible viruses that may attack in a given winter season. Vaccines are made using particles to stimulate antibodies against an Influenza A and B type virus. The need to prepare in advance necessitates the educated guessing as to what are the likely make-up of the trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines. Sadly this year’s was a relative bust meaning they did not educate guess correctly. Actually influenza A type H3N2 had been included but a sub-variant lineage is a culprit this season. Although I think the number for the vaccine effectiveness (VE) is 16% coverage of the viruses, according to CDC. The predominant influenza strain, for the 2021-2022 season is A(H3N2). 

So back to respiratory infections, common in winter months with prevention such as continuing to wear a mask, treatment with antivirals (influenza antivirals such as baloxavir (Xofluza) or oseltamivir (Tamiflu) are paramount, especially for high-risk individuals. Most of us will not have complete immunity either from the flu vaccine or having had H3N2, a form of Influenza A. Listening to your body when you are unwell, seeking medical attention, and avoiding spreading your illness are smart moves.

Very possibly and reported, acute respiratory infections can be caused by an Influenza virus and accompanied by SARS-CoV-2.

Illness is on the rise with central and south-central regions of the US reporting more cases. Hospital admissions have been increasing each week for the past 5 weeks. The season has definitely started. CDC estimates that, so far this season, there have been at least 2.7 million flu illnesses, 26,000 hospitalizations, and 1,500 deaths from flu.

Influenza surveillance reports are available weekly do have a look.

In ED, a Respiratory Pathogens test can be done that evaluates many different causes of respiratory infections. Viruses include flu-type influenza A & B, RSV virus, Parainfluenza virus, Rhinovirus, Adenovirus, Coronavirus,Enterovirus, Human metapneumovirus. and that is just viruses, also tested are bacteria including: Bordetella pertussis (whooping cough) and Bordetella parapertussis, Chlamydia pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. A respiratory infection spread rapidly and as you see there are many culprits most no cure and many treated differently. Check with your healthcare provider for information on home tests.

Home care is moving fast as early recognition can go a long way to better outcomes and less spread. One type is the rapid antigen tests: these generally involve inserting a swab into your nostril. The sample can then be analyzed at home with materials that are included in the test kit. Results are typically available in around 15 minutes. Other tests can be mailed in for results. You will be happy to learn rather than going to an emergency room or doctor’s office and being with other ill people, you could do an influenza test at home. Home-based, self-administered tests for influenza are comparable in accuracy to rapid diagnostic tests in clinical settings, according to a recently published. Thompson is the senior author of the study and a primary-care physician at UW Medicine.