Current flu shot 'not a very good match' for most common strain, an NIH director says

According to the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the current season's influenza vaccine is "not a very good match" for the B/Victoria strain of the flu, which is the most common strain of the current season, CNN reports.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is part of the National Instates of Health.

Anthony S. Fauci, MD, told CNN that while the current flu vaccine is "not an awful match," its not a good match — the vaccine is a 58 percent match for B/Victoria, CDC data shows. This means that there is a 58 percent chance the vaccine will be matched to the strain and be able to protect against the flu.

Nationally, the B/Victoria strain is the most commonly reported strain among those sickened by the flu. It is most commonly reported among young people, from infants to 24-year-olds. The (H1N1)pdm09 strain is the most commonly reported influenza viruses among those older than 25 years. The vaccine is a good match for the H1N1 strain, CNN reports.

Vaccine mismatches occur every year as it is difficult to predict the dominant strain of the flu before the season begins.

But getting the flu shot, regardless of potential mismatches, is important, Dr. Fauci said, because even if the vaccine doesn't prevent getting the flu, it could help keep symptoms and complications in check.

Dr. Fauci is also leading research to develop a universal flu vaccine that would protect against every flu strain over several seasons.

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