Flu viruses can pick up mutations and evolve as they grow in bird cells, which are not their preferred environment.
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Scientists don’t really know why, but flu seasons where H3N2 have dominated in the past have tended to be worse. This year’s vaccine was only 10 percent effective against the problematic H3N2 strain in Australia.
Flu experts have the unenviable task of predicting circulating flu strains several months in advance—so that vaccine manufacturers have the time it takes to grow millions of doses in chicken eggs. But even when flu experts do a decent job with their predictions, the other problem is the chicken eggs.
Researchers also are pursuing a universal flu vaccine that works against all strains.
This does not mean that the flu vaccine this year is useless.
The news comes just weeks after singer Vusi Nova was stripped and beaten after being hijacked outside his Melville home in Johannesburg.