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Universal Flu Vaccine: Is It Possible?

William Schaffner, MD, discusses efforts to develop a universal flu vaccine.

William Schaffner, MD, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, discusses efforts to develop a universal flu vaccine.

Interview Transcript (modified slightly for readability):

“Scientists in universities, in the federal government, in the vaccine industry are all working to create better influenza vaccines. For example, we now have two vaccines formulated for people aged 65 and older; they work better. And, some of my friends are working in the laboratory to create a universal flu vaccine, one that would cover a whole variety of strains, which, perhaps, we might only have to get every five or ten years.

But that’s not the vaccine we have today. The vaccine we have today has to be given each and every year. So, let’s use the one that we have today to our best advantage, while we have a look to the future and high hopes down the road.”