Is my flu shot going to help?

Picking the yearly Flu antigens is an interesting exercise, and more often than not it’s gotten right. The vaccine has to be committed to well in advance of the first US case happening, and it’s still an educated guess.

So, it’s always fun to see if the shot we got will actually help. Here’s the latest:CDC

Antigenic Characterization:
CDC has antigenically characterized 3 influenza viruses collected by U.S. laboratories since October 1, 2005: 1 influenza A (H3N2) virus and 2 influenza B viruses. The influenza A (H3N2) virus was characterized as A/California/07/2004-like, which is the influenza A (H3N2) component recommended for the 2005-06 influenza vaccine.

Influenza B viruses currently circulating can be divided into two antigenically distinct lineages represented by B/Yamagata/16/88 and B/Victoria/2/87 viruses. One of the influenza B viruses isolated belonged to the B/Yamagata lineage and was characterized as B/Florida/07/2004-like. This is a minor antigenic variant of B/Shanghai/361/2002, the recommended influenza B component for the 2005-06 influenza vaccine. The other influenza B virus was identified as belonging to the B/Victoria lineage.

So, mostly. They missed one of the B antigenic types, but it’s also been in the minority of reported cases so far.

Answer is: Yes!

Update: I saw our first case of Influenza here last night (12/10/05), and it was Type A.


  1. Okay, so this year’s vaccine should be effective.
    I have wondered whether prior years vaccines are still effective.
    I have worked in healthcare for 20+ years and have obtained a flu vaccine every year since actually having the “real” flu (i.e., acute onset, fever, myalgias etc – not just a viral syndrome) in the mid 80s.
    Are you aware of any data to suggest that serial annual vaccination confers benefit in subsequent years?

  2. Great question, and one I’ve wondered about myself. I also have about 15 years of yearly flu shots, and that’s a lot of antigen exposures.

    I need to look into this.


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