CDC says vaccine may not include dominant strain of flu

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.–More than 20 different strains of the flu are included in this year’s vaccine, but it still does not include the most dominant strain, according to the latest research from the Center for Disease control.

“It’s not unusual,” said Suzi Anthony, a pharmacist at Keystone Pharmacy. “Some years are good matches, some years are not good matches.”

The CDC says health officials tested 85 influenza samples from Oct. 1 to Nov. 22.  Fifty-two percent of those samples collected were different than the strains in the 2014 vaccine.

“What they are concerned about with this one is the strain they’re finding seems to be producing a more severe flu reaction. In the past, the strain has caused more hospitalization, more severe illness than some of the other strains,” said Anthony.

That strain is H3N2. Although it is not included in the vaccine, Anthony says getting the flu vaccine can still help prevent the virus.

“Even though it is not an exact match, it can still decrease the severity even of this strain if you get it. So our big thing here is still get the flu shot. It will still protect you at least 50 percent,” Anthony said.

Health officials suggest washing your hands frequently while singing the “Happy Birthday Song” twice can help prevent the spread of the virus.

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