Tis the Season to Remember Your Flu Shot
By Jonathan Coffman, PhD, MBA, Chair of General Education
Nearly 500,000 deaths occur yearly due to the 3 to 5 million severe cases of the seasonal flu! Fortunately, vaccines are available for high-risk individuals including pregnant women and the elderly.
By studying antibody landscapes, scientists are designing more strategic vaccines, but with so many strains existing among birds, humans, and other animals, the virus has the opportunity—and genetic tendency—to mutate and change so we are encouraged to receive the “predicted vaccine” even though it is nearly impossible to predict new mutations.
Along with an active immune response against the current tetravalent (4 strains) vaccine or the trivalent (3 strains) vaccine, the immune system responds to the strains it has encountered in the past … a process now referred to as “back boost.” Contrary to what one has been told in the past, our immune system has memory and studies from the 2009 variant outbreak indicated that the memory can last for decades.
So, during the break ‘Be Merry’ and take a little time out to boost your immunity to Influenza!