Health officials to swap all flu strains in new vaccine

WASHINGTON Health officials that were part of a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee on Thursday decided to completely revamp next year’s influenza vaccine, according to published reports, in an effort to better protect patients from three strains not included in this year’s vaccine that have been responsible for a spike in flu-like illnesses this season.

Each year around this time, health officials make their best educated guesses as to which flu viruses may be present in the upcoming season and include three strains of flu virus in the vaccine to help protect people from getting sick. So the decision to wholeheartedly swap all three strains for three new strains is somewhat unusual, but may have been driven in part because of the lack of protection associated with this year's vaccine.

The new vaccine formula will include protection against the H3N2 strain Brisbane/10, a prevalent strain this year not protected against in the current vaccine formulation. The other strains chosen were an H1N1 Brisbane/59 and a Type B/Florida strain.

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