This year, five to six times more people have been hit by the flu virus than in 2014, said virologist Marc Van Ranst to VRT-radio. According to him, an “unfortunate combination” in the flu vaccine is one of the main reasons for the high number of people affected. “The flu epidemic is at its peak, and between 5% and 10% of the population have been hit by the virus. They are mainly elderly people, who are paradoxically those who are vaccinated most”, says the virologist Marc Van Ranst. “The vaccine given out this year will not be good enough”, he explained. “The strongest virus strain was not taken into account for this vaccine composition”.
“The vaccine is constructed a bit like a weather forecast, using data made available a few months before and targeting the potentially dangerous viruses. A virus has not been taken into account this time, therefore the vaccine composition is not the most effective. This happens on average every 8 or 9 years”.
The virologist is therefore worried there will be a high number of deaths this year, especially as elderly people are the first affected by the virus. According to him, the worst has passed, even if the number of people affected will remain high over the next few weeks. “Thanks to the carnival holidays, the number of infections should slowly fall”.