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Free stronger flu vaccine for older Australians after 2017's deadly outbreak

20 February 2018

In a recent Flu Activity report, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that of the more than 80 deaths in children nationwide 75% were unvaccinated against the flu.

The CDC said vaccinations should continue throughout flu season.

"We expect that when it's this type of flu strain [H3N2] it's gonna be a tough year for flu and that's one of the real challenges", former CDC director Tom Frieden told CBS This Morning. To prepare for each flu season, the FDA has a key role in selecting the strains to be included in the annual vaccine. One of the flu strains spreading this season, H3-N2 is affecting children more than most. Since the flu shot is only 36% effective, according to the CDC, patients are looking for alternatives.

Although the CDC estimates thousands have fallen ill, vaccine maker's profits remain healthy.

Health officials on Friday said about 1 of every 13 visits to the doctor last week was for fever, cough and other symptoms of the flu.

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Pharma giants GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi lead the pack.

The stronger vaccine will be delivered in a $31m program. "This was driven by pandemic purchases in the U.S". You're less likely to get the complications of pneumonia, having to be hospitalized, and dying. This information, together with surveillance information provided by the CDC, offers important insight into the selection of the next season's vaccine strains and into whether any changes in the vaccine development process need to be made.

Pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens also benefited.

"The trick with the flu is that it happens very quickly", said Dr. Flor M. Munoz, associate professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., said in a statement that a preliminary analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services indicates that the cell-based flu vaccine "appears to have somewhat better effectiveness" than the egg-based vaccine.

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That total easily surpasses the 58 deaths the state reported in 2009, the first year that all flu deaths were required to be reported to Georgia Public Health.

The flu shot can prepare one's body against the flu if it doesn't outright prevent the influenza virus. Some proved more effective than others. Vaccines use a live strain of the virus harvested from eggs in a laboratory. In 2012-13, ferrets immunized with the egg-adapted strain had an antibody response that reacted poorly with that season's circulating H3N2 strains. They are also more expensive. "But people didn't distinguish between them and instead just saw cars".

Researchers are racing to develop a so-called universal vaccine.

Of course, the Holy Grail would be the so-called "universal influenza vaccine", at least universal across all those influenza A strains.

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Free stronger flu vaccine for older Australians after 2017's deadly outbreak