This season's flu shot far more effective than last year's, researchers find

Health officials encourage Albertans to get their 'very effective' flu shot
This season’s flu shot effective enough to block 7 of 10 cases: BC CDC

27 January, 2019

Over the past five seasons, the end-of-season hospitalization rates have ranged from 31.4 per 100,000 (2015-2016) to 102.8 per 100,000 (2017-2018).

When large numbers of people are vaccinated, diseases have a much harder time moving from person to person.

A medical assistant at the Sea Mar Community Health Center gives a patient a flu shot in Seattle on January 11, 2018. "It's pretty unusual to see young, otherwise healthy people die of the flu in non-pandemic years, but it does happen".

"As the season goes on we really get an idea of what strain is circulating and when we saw that was the case, we're seeing what we expected, that it would be younger and middle-aged people that were struck with worse illnesses from the flu", said Waters. "We'd like to have another 20 or 30 more if we could, particularly we need more representation in the north of the province", he said.

"A vaccine effectiveness of about 70% means for every 10 cases of influenza in unvaccinated people, the number would have been reduced to just three cases if they had been vaccinated", explains Skowronski.

Overall deaths from pneumonia and flu, an indicator that typically lags other markers, rose to 7.2% last week and are above the epidemic threshold, and in an accompanying situation report, the CDC said that indicator has now topped the epidemic level for 2 weeks this season.

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A year ago in January, the practice tested 268 patients and saw 107 positive results with Influenza B being the most common.

Coughing, sneezing, and body aches are all signs of the flu. The 2009 H1N1 strain is still dominant in most of the country, except for in the southeast where H3N2 has been more common. There are many benefits to vaccination, including reducing the risk of flu illness, doctor's visits, hospitalization, and even death in children.

The experts also say acting early when you notice symptoms is important, especially when it comes to the people that are most susceptible: kids and older adults.

"So that's why I think we're seeing this year more younger people represented in the tallies of hospitalizations with H1N1", she said.

Warner said it's not too late to get vaccinated since the flu season is likely to continue into April.

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