Researchers hope new flu vaccine is more effective
COLUMBIA - Flu season if officially here, and the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services is doing whatever it takes to make sure the community is protected.
This year's flu vaccine has been updated with a version that is expected to protect people from more strains of the virus.
"Last year we had a drift in the flu strains that were circulating around in the community versus what was provided in the vaccine," the department's public information officer Andrea Waner said.
That means that last year's vaccine did not do a good enough job protecting people from that particular strain in the winter months of late 2014 to early 2015.
This year, the vaccine includes the strain that was more prevalent in most cases last flu season.
"It's the H3N2 strain that's contained in this year's vaccine," Waner said.
The department offers the vaccine in both injection form and a mist form. This is only the second flu season the department offered a quadrivalent flu vaccine in both forms.
Quadrivalent flu vaccines protect against four strains of influenza viruses.
In the past, the department only offered trivalent vaccines, meaning it only covers against three strains of the flu.
Waner said the quadrivalent vaccine should now be available at other local clinics as well.
The department is out of the mist form until further notice, but the injection is still available.