Flu vaccines are not perfect, but they remain the single best way to protect against flu. Having a flu jab significantly reduces your chances of getting flu in the first place; but if you are unlucky and still catch it, your illness is likely to be milder and shorter.
This season’s vaccine does contain protection against the H3N2 strain of flu, one of the main types which have been circulating in Australia. The vaccine also offers protection against most other strains of flu currently circulating in Wales.
Flu vaccines are developed well in advance of the flu season, based on viruses that had recently been circulating at that time. However flu viruses are unpredictable. They mutate and change, and some strains may dominant over others. Additional factors like patients’ ages may also affect the degree of protection a particular vaccine offers.
So because of these varying factors, it is not possible to produce a vaccine that is 100% effective.
But having a free flu jab remains a very sensible choice for people in at-risk groups, and for those over the age of 65. The protection the vaccine offers, even limited, is still well worth having.
Remember, flu is not just a heavy cold. It can be a very serious and sometimes life-threatening illness – so having a flu jab could really make a difference.