October 23rd 2014
I have been hearing a lot about this 4 strain Flu Vaccine in the news lately and got curious about it. I started doing some casual looking into it. The official name for the Flu is “Influenza”.
The first question I had was WHAT is this 4 strain? I looked that up and ran into the 3 strain vaccine; so I had a look at that to figure out the difference.
It seems that Influenza* vaccines are developed each year to protect people from the three strains expected to be most prevalent, according to the US Library of Medicine. So the vaccine seems to change each year depending on the type of influenza that is expected to be the most common. *(Influenza is a viral illness producing a high temperature, sore throat, runny nose, headache, dry cough, and muscle pain. The illness is widespread, especially during winter months, and can sometimes be fatal.)
The vaccines are developed to help fight the Flu (Influenza) which is described as a contagious virus that is seasonal.
The flu season in the United States usually runs from November through March each year. It is said to be different from a cold, comes on suddenly and some of the more severe symptoms are: fever (usually high), headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches and stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, also possible; more common in children than adults.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimates that influenza accounts for approximately 36,000 deaths and more than 200,000 hospitalizations every year in the United States. The Flu is said to infect about 5 to 20% of the US population every year.
For a more detailed study of the vaccines and information on how the viruses are selected to make the vaccine, what they protect against, the factors that influence which virus are chosen to go into the seasonal Flu vaccine, what the CDC’s role is in vaccine production and a lot of other information; check out this link to the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/virusqa.htm
This article is mainly dealing with what the 3 and 4 strain vaccine is at this time.
The 3 strain Flu vaccine – According to the CDC, all of the 2014-2015 influenza vaccine is made to protect against the following three viruses:
An A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus. 2) An A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2)-like virus and 3) a B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus.
See below for information on these viruses.
This would be the 3 strain Flu vaccine. The names above are just fancy names for the type of influenza virus that the Flu vaccine is supposed to protect one against..
The 4 strain Flu vaccine - For years, flu vaccines were designed to protect against three different flu viruses (trivalent). This included an influenza A H1N1 virus (Influenza A (H1 N1) virus is the subtype of influenza A virus that was the most common cause of human influenza (flu) in 2009), an influenza A H3N2 virus (Influenza A virus subtype H3N2 (also H3N2) is a subtype of viruses that causes influenza (flu). H3N2 Viruses can infect birds and mammals. In birds, humans, and pigs the virus has mutated into many strains) and one B virus.
Influenza B viruses are said to infect only humans and seals.
Experts had to choose one B virus, even though there are two very different lines of B viruses that both circulate during most seasons. This meant the vaccine did not protect against the group of B viruses not included in the vaccine.
Adding another B virus to the vaccine aims to give broader protection against circulating flu viruses; this creates what is known these days as the 4 strain Flu vaccine.
More detailed information on these can be found at the CDC website here: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/quadrivalent.htm
The apparent information at this time is that 4 strain Flu vaccine will be offering more protection that the 3 strain one.
How Well Does Flu Vaccines Work?
The CDC has done a lot of studies on this subject. The studies are ongoing. How well they work depends on a couple of major factors:
1) The age and helth of the person being vaccinated.
2) How well the Flu vaccine is matched to the type (strain) of Flu being circulated in any given year when the vaccinations are being done.
Check the CDC website for information on the following point - see links below:
The Other Side of the Coin:
The above is the information from the CDC and other "recognized" sources. On the other side of the coin there has recently been some developments that suggests that the Flu vaccines may actually be increasing the risk of people contracting the H1N1 virus as well as causing more serious bouts of illnesses. See information in this article from Dr. Mercola: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/09/18/flu-shot-increases-flu-illness.aspx
Check out the information yourself and decide for yourself. We believe that boosting your immune system is certainly a good thing to do so, check out the information and decide which is best for you.
[The information contained in this article is believed to be reliable. I have taken every precaution to verify its accuracy; I am not a medical professional and make no warranties, representations or guarantees of any kind as to its accuracy. Medical knowledge is in a constant state of change, and what I have written here may be out of date by the time you read it. The information that I have provided here is for informational purposes only and not for use in diagnosing any condition that you may or may not have. Always consult with you doctor before treating yourself.]