This year's flu vaccine is not working

Another minor correction/clarification… the Pneumonia and Influenza Mortality Rate is back at epidemic levels. Since 2011, every flu season has had periods of epidemic-level P&I mortality rates.


That being said, it sucks when we guess wrong. Especially since people have died and are going to continue to die because of it.


I’m sick, but I don’t know if it’s influenza. I just feel like hammered shit, and I’m dehydrated from the constantly runny nose. I didn’t even know it was possible to release that much liquid from one’s nose.

I got the flu shot, which I haven’t the last few years, but this year, I have medical insurance again. Thanks Obama!

I don’t know if the vaccine did me any good (or will in the future), but generally speaking, I’m willing to throw in my lot with science and modern medicine. They’re the best we have so far, whether I understand all the details or not. Many things are knowable, even if they are not known by me.


When is she coming back? I miss her.


And here I thought it was because of all the fried food, sweet tea, and lack of exercise…

I remember reading that the flu season is in winter because when it is cold and dry out, the droplets from sneezes and coughs evaporate and virus it stays in the air longer.

Also, more generally, what is the limiting factor for how many strains they can put in each year’s vaccine? Is it a manufacturing process problem? Could they just put dozens of strains in there every year and make this happen less often, and if so, what is the reason for not doing that?

Getting immunized is worth it. Even if it doesn’t work as thoroughly as expected, 57% success is still a helluva lot better efficacy than “rub some dirt in it, and walk it off”.

As, mentioned, even if you do get the flu, the vaccination can reduce the illness’s severity and duration. There’s also value in herd immunity. Even if the vaccine doesn’t get the most prevalent strain, by vaccinating you’re helping to protect infants, the elderly, people with allergies to eggs (and other components of the flu shot) and immune compromised people from the strains the vaccine does protect for.

The side-effects are very minimal. You might get a little bit of bruising, but probably won’t if the nurse administering has any experience. You could get a little bit of a rash, although that’s totally worth not being sick for a week.

Rarely there are severe adverse effects. But if you were getting regularly vaccinated, you would have already become aware of it.


In pasta water?
Praise FSM.




I’d just note that it’s especially important for those who are pregnant to get flu shots. Pregnancy can make flu worse, and flu during pregnancy correlates with increased incidence of some diseases in children. The habit of avoiding everything during pregnancy is pretty ingrained, but it’s not always for the best.


This insane post nasal drip thing is what I’ve been battling. Weirdest virus ever and long lasting too. Lemon drops have been the only useful aid. Get well soon!

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I work in a hospital in the NE and every documented case in the ED this week was H3N2. We get an email notification of the weeks flu cases.

One reason flu spreads so widely is lack of proper hand washing. At least 15-20 seconds of vigorous hand washing preferably with soap. Only 5% of Americans do that.

And try to never touch your face. If you watch many hospital employees they’ll use a paper towel to open doors and push elevator buttons, Germ hotspots.


If they know, and have known for some time now, what the main flu strain spreading this season is… why can’t they make and distribute vaccines to that strain now? Even if they don’t have enough time to make the hundreds of millions of doses needed to vaccinate the entire country, couldn’t they make hundreds of thousands of doses for the most vulnerable fraction of the population?

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I’d like to see a mashup overlaying this CDC map with the states that opted out of Obamacare, cut back on Medicaid, or both. This goes along with the number of uninsured in the states most impacted by the flu. I wonder if there’s a correlation…

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This WHO page (talking about flu pandemics) says that it takes 4-6 months to produce the first dose of vaccine for a particular flu strain. So no, they wouldn’t be able to produce vaccine for the current flu season after it’s already started.

In discussing the strains involved in the current flu season, the CDC mentions that an H3N2 strain was already selected for the 2015 Southern Hemisphere flu vaccine. (It turns out the one they predicted for the Southern Hemisphere is actually the one that’s currently hitting the Northern Hemisphere.) So yeah, they have to make their guesses and start production well in advance, and it’s not just a question of producing a large-enough volume of doses.

Incidentally, people are working on recombinant vaccine production, which doesn’t require the time-consuming egg incubation process; it can produce vaccine in about 3 weeks. The CDC discusses it here. So far one type of recombinant vaccine has been FDA-approved. So hopefully in the future, the strains for flu vaccine won’t have to be predicted quite so far in advance.


Also, more generally, what is the limiting factor for how many strains they can put in each year’s vaccine? Is it a manufacturing process problem?

Short version: Yes, it’s a manufacturing process problem.

Here’s a video about how flu vaccine is made. Essentially, they have to grow each strain separately in a batch of eggs. To get a three- or four-strain vaccine, you need three or four batches of eggs. It would be cost-prohibitive to include dozens of strains because you’d need dozens of batches of eggs. That video link mentions that one of GSK’s vaccine factories receives 360,000 eggs each day – presumably to do a trivalent vaccine. So to include a dozen strains, they’d instead need 1.44 million eggs each day. That’s a lot of eggs. I don’t know if egg production could keep up. Maybe if no eggs were sold for food at all.


Insufficient data for Washington, DC. It was hard to tell the difference between the flu and the rest of the viruses there?

My go-to treatment used to be robotussin, the combo with both the dextromethorphan and the expectorant I can’t pronounce or spell correctly…Guafenesin or something like that.

Anyway, I’ve discovered this year that robotussin doesn’t do a damn thing, and that I’m much better off taking nasal decongestants. Pseudoephedrine is a wonder-drug for colds. At least that’s what my anecdata suggest. Too bad pharmacies hate selling it to me. The can be as suspicious as they want, but it does have legitimate uses.

If all else fails…

Useful if you happen to live in one of the many places where it’s easier to score meth than purchase an effective decongestant.


So I am kind of an expert in this kind of medicine due to a past history of allergies. Guafenesin is the active ingredient in Mucinex, where it is in much higher dosage. I use like 600, 800 mg as the 1200 mg is too drying for me. That is truly a great drug.

Sudafed is kind of mixed for me, sometimes it just plugs me up and sometimes it’s great.

My doctor recommended gargling about five times a day with salt water and shooting it down my nose during this illness. It has done very little to stop the constant running nose - it’s finally just settled down to a more normal amount in time and I drank a ton of liquids to avoid coughing all day.

I’ve tried using a netipot to deal with my chronic sinusitis and ended up retaining fluid in my head for up to twelve hours. Good times.