The flu is hitting the nation hard.
Tens of thousands have been hospitalized because of the virus. Almost 40 children have died from it.
And some experts say the vaccine designed to protect against the virus may not be up to the task.
“Our vaccines are typically produced in eggs,” Monto says. “And when you put this kind of virus, the one that’s circulating now, in eggs, they change a little bit. So what you’re getting in the vaccine is a little different from what’s circulating. And that may be enough to make the vaccine less effective.”
Monto says there is a kind-of super vaccine available especially designed to help the elderly.
“What you’re getting in the vaccine is a little different from what’s circulating. And that may be enough to make the vaccine less effective.” – University of Michigan professor Arnold Monto
But he says the National Institutes of Health may soon seek funding to create an entirely new form of flu vaccine.
Yet Monto adds that it is still worth receiving the current vaccine because it protects against a different strain of the flu that typically becomes more widespread in the late winter and early spring.
“We have other components in the vaccine,” he says. “And usually we have a continuation of the season switching from Type A, which is what we’re getting now, to Type B. And the vaccine is much better protecting against Type B.”
Monto says that protection could be vital.
He tells WDET’s Quinn Klinefelter that both Michigan and the U.S. as a whole have not seen the worst of the flu yet.