Flu vaccine problems

Rick A. Bright rbright at emory.edu
Sat May 20 09:20:51 EST 2000

Very good reply, Justin.  Spoken like a professional.  I second your

The CDC doesn't really recommend that young, healthy people get the flu
vaccine every year.  The recommendations are for those with more vulnerable
immune systems such as the very young, elderly, and those with
immunodeficient conditions.

The vaccine does change every year to stay abreast of the mutations within
the currently circulating strains of the virus.  Hopefully, a day will come
with a single vaccine can protect against all types of influenza.

Justin Cobb <jacobb at uiuc.edu> wrote in message
news:b_kP4.13130$nb2.272255 at vixen.cso.uiuc.edu...
> Changing the flu vaccine isn't necessarily an admission that the vaccine
> used for this past flu season did not have the right types.  The CDC
> the flu vaccine every year.  This is done because, as you said, the
> influenza virus mutates frequently.  According to my microbiology
> they find the three or so most frequent strains for a season and use
> attenuated viruses of these strains to produce the vaccine.  This doesn't
> mean that they will always have the right strains when the flu season does
> come around, but this is probably the best they can do in order to have a
> vaccine prepared when it is time for people to get their flu vaccination.
> Also, I'm no expert in immunology, but from the basic concepts that I do
> know, I would say that it is probably unlikely that a vaccine containing
> "wrong" strains would weaken the immune response to the "right" strain.
> Specific antibodies are produced by a B-cell line that is specific for the
> antigen targeted by the antibodies (clonal expansion) so the introduction
> a different strain of the virus would simply induce the production of a
> line of B-cells specific for that strain.
> Again, I'm no immunology expert, but I hope this helps to answer your
> questions.
> --
> Justin Cobb
> Sophomore, Biology-General
> University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
> School of Life Sciences
> <RSAMSON18 at cs.com> wrote in message news:43.426f893.263eef46 at cs.com...
> > The CDC is changing the flu vaccine for the next season.  Without
> > specifically saying
> > so, I believe it is an admission that the vaccine used for the season
> > ending did
> > not have the right types, which explains the extensive outbreak among
> those
> > who
> > were vaccinated.  Because of the ability of the flu virus just to change
> even
> > slightly
> > and thus render the vaccine ineffective, I wonder if people who have a
> strong
> > immune
> > system should avoid the vaccine since the vaccine may weaken the immune
> system
> > response to a strain which is only slightly different than one that the
> > vaccine was
> > intended for.  Something to think about.  This would not apply to
> > for viruses
> > that do not mutate so readily.
> > Ralph L. Samson
> >
> > ---

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