Re: Flu vaccine

Area: Immunology
Posted By: David Miller
Program: Molecular Biology and Pharmacology, Washington University Medical School
Date: Oct 26th, 1995

Thanks for your question Ivette,

The way they make the flu vaccine is to pool several strains together that they think might be infecting people this year. Usually this means the strains that were most prevalent at the end of last flu season or strains that are currently infecting people in other countries that we might have contact with. Since there are many strains, the vaccine is not 100% effective, but the numbers are much better than 50%. You are correct that getting a flu shot will not make you less able to fight off strains that are not in the vaccine. In fact, if you were infected with such a strain, your ability to fight that infection would be as good or better than if you had not been immunized.
--David Miller

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