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Health officials: Flu shot may only be 10% effective this season

08 Декабря 2017

Flu shots help protect us from the highly contagious, debilitating illness that can have severe complications in some portions of the population.

In its weekly FluWatch report, the Public Health Agency of Canada says the annual sneezing-coughing season began early this year - especially with illness due to influenza B - and the percentage of laboratory-positive tests for flu is higher at this point on the calendar compared with previous seasons.

In the case of H3N2, the vaccine component has been genetically altered somewhat as a result of the manufacturing process, which involves growing vast quantities of the virus in eggs.

It may not sound like a disaster, since this year's flu shot is only 10 percent effective against the difficult-to-stop H3N2 strain.

Flu activity, which has been increasing since the start of November, is now higher than usual for this time of year, according to a report published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And doctors will tell you it's never too late to get the flu shot-and they say not to believe the myths.

Compared to this time previous year, experts say there are double the number of confirmed cases of the flu. Young children, elderly persons, pregnant women and people with some long-term medical conditions are reminded to contact their health care provider as soon as they develop flu symptoms.

Certain people are at greater risk of serious flu-related complications.

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Doctors still want you to get the shot, though.

"If you're not excited about getting vaccinated yourself, do it for the people you love", Mills said.

Among health care workers who declined the vaccine, the most common reason is fear of experiencing side effects or getting sick from the vaccine.

Flu shots are available at more than 300 locations around Vermont. Some patients believe they can protect themselves by boosting their immune systems, eating well and making sure they sleep better, she said.

Lisa Smith said she thinks everyone should think critically about the vaccine before they roll up a sleeve.

Dr. Allison McGeer, director of infection control at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, said lab testing in Ontario is turning up "quite a lot of B isolates, almost as many Bs as H3N2".

"The flu vaccine takes two weeks to become fully effective", said Dr. Levine.

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Health officials: Flu shot may only be 10% effective this season