According to the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”), flu activity in the United States most commonly peaks between December and February. Therefore, the flu season is officially upon us. Every year, several different strains of the influenza virus circulate among the population. These viruses are constantly changing or mutating, making the process of developing an effective vaccine to combat influenza viruses somewhat of a moving target.
Every year, a new flu vaccine is developed to protect against three (3) or four (4) different flu viruses. The vaccine is designed to protect against those viruses that research suggests will be the most common during the upcoming season. It takes approximately four (4) to six (6) months for the flu vaccine to be produced and, therefore, the flu vaccine offered for any given flu season is formulated months in advance of the actual flu season.
In February 2014, a panel of experts decided on three strains of the influenza virus to include in this year’s vaccine, based on data about the common strains circulating around the globe throughout the year. Some years the vaccine is a better match to the circulating strains than others. Unfortunately, according to a recent report from the CDC, while it is still very early in the season, much of the influenza virus making individuals sick this year has mutated since the current flu vaccines were made, and this year’s vaccine does not appear to provide good protection against it. As a result, the CDC is warning that this could be a bad flu season.
The CDC is urging people to seek medical help if they become severely ill with the flu and is reminding doctors that if they see a case of the flu, to prescribe one of two antiviral drugs to treat the patient. The CDC is also continuing to encourage people to get vaccinated with this season’s flu shot because the vaccine may still offer partial protection against the mutated virus and will protect against the other strains circulating this season.
As vaccine attorneys, we recognize that the majority of vaccines are administered without incident and are important to public health and welfare in general. Notwithstanding, vaccines, like any medicine, are capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions, in some individuals. If you believe that you or someone you know has suffered an adverse reaction to a vaccine or suffered an injury as a result, you could be eligible for compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. A remedy exists that could result in a monetary award for past and future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, and past and future pain and suffering.