Fall is here, and it’s time again for flu shots. Officials are making clear that they’ve tried to avoid a repeat of last year, when immunizations proved ineffectual against a surprise strain. 170 million doses of flu vaccine are expected this year, reports The Kansas City Star. Options range from traditional shots, a nasal spray, a high-dose version for seniors, and even a needle-free injection for squeamish patients.
Last year, after scientists had already brewed the flu shots, a harsh new Type A strain burst onto the scene. The shots proved useless against the new strain. But the director of the CDC said last week that this year’s immunization seems likely to match the current flu strains. Fewer than half of Americans get an annual flu immunization. On average, the flu kills about 24,000 people a year in the U.S.