Some Doctors Concerned Flu Vaccine May Only Reduce Risk By 10 Percent

Posted December 08, 2017

Health officials warn of bad flu season this year, but still recommend the flu shot.

He says the flu shot is created to cover multiple strains, so if a different strain hits Central Texas you will still be covered.

"But we can not say we will go on to experience the kind of severe season Australia had, in part because we ourselves had a fairly severe epidemic due to H3N2 in 2016-17", Skowronski said.

Matthew Maurer, Epidemiologist, says there are many various strains of the flu virus.

A year ago in Canada and the US, the vaccine was found to be only 35 per cent effective in preventing cases of H3N2 influenza, she said.

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The paper says the implications for the Northern Hemisphere are not clear but states that since most of the USA influenza-vaccine supply is now produced in eggs and the composition of the 2017-2018 Northern Hemisphere vaccine is identical to that used in Australia, it is possible that we will experience low vaccine effectiveness against influenza A (H3N2) viruses and a relatively severe influenza season if they predominate.

Some states are reporting widespread activity, and others, local activity.

'Some of the early assessments of the vaccine from the Australia epidemic in their winter, our summer, suggest about a 10 percent vaccine efficacy which would then mean it was 10 percent effective in preventing the disease'. 201 of those cases are from people who have had flu like illnesses. It's a less effective match for the B strains, which so far account for only a small handful of reported lab results in Maine.

Already, more than half of New York's counties - including Nassau and Suffolk - have had cases of the infection confirmed by Wadsworth Center, the state Department of Health's laboratory in Albany.

"I know 100% that if you don't get a flu vaccine you will have no protection", Burstein said. Nationwide since October 1, 566 have been hospitalized for influenza and 148 million doses of the flu vaccine have been distributed.

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Nevertheless, the state is urging everyone to get a flu shot.

Almost 100 years ago, a horrific outbreak of influenza hit Philadelphia, infecting more than 47,000 residents.

Other ways to stay healthy that you may not think of include staying active and managing stress, which can help give your immune system a boost.

"So given that, particularly for the H3N2 component, the vaccine effectiveness we're anticipating will be low", predicted Skowronski.

No doubt, the flu vaccine has saved millions and millions of lives over the last 80 years, but it's still a bit of a crap-shoot year to year.

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