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Friday, November 2, 2018

Vaccination Series Part 1: What's New With the Flu?

Essential Vaccines: Part 1 of a 3-part series

The 2018-19 flu bug season is upon us! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you get a flu vaccine by the end of October, but getting vaccinated later is still beneficial -- even through January or later.

Each year the circulating flu viruses adapt and change, so the vaccines are updated yearly to better match the most current virus. Most flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses that current research suggests will be most common each year. This year a trivalent (meaning three-component) vaccine is recommended to protect against:

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus
  • A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 A(H3N2)-like virus (updated)
  • B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus (updated)
Another, quadrivalent (four-compound) vaccine protects against a second lineage of B viruses and contains the above, plus B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus.

Imperfect Matches

During the flu season months these bugs can continue to change in a process called drift. Antibodies made in response to the received vaccination can sometimes provide protection against different but related flu viruses. So even if the vaccine is a less-than-ideal match or is of a lower effectiveness, it can still provide some protection.
Where is the Flu Now?

Geographic spread of the flu can be found on the CDC’s website here. Currently the states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Oregon have reported local influenza activity. Illinois, Mississippi, Rhode Island and Virginia are reporting no activity and the remainder of the U.S. is reporting sporadic activity. 

Don’t let the flu get you! Get your vaccination at the Medical Center and don’t forget to have some basic supplies on hand for cold and flu season. And wash, wash, wash your hands.


The Medical Center at Ocean Reef
50 Barracuda Lane
Key Largo, FL  33037

Main Phone: 305-367-2600
Fax Number: 305-367-4573
General email: