Thursday, 21 February, 2019

Flu season is back; experts recommend getting vaccinations now

Doctor holding a flu vaccine Flu season is back; experts recommend getting vaccinations now
Melissa Porter | 29 September, 2018, 22:10

An estimated 80,000 Americans died of the flu past year, according to a new government report.

CDC estimates that flu vaccines prevent tens of thousands of hospitalizations each year and a CDC study in 2017 was the first of its kind to show flu vaccination reduced the risk of flu-associated death by half (51 percent) among children with underlying high-risk medical conditions and by almost two-thirds (65 percent) among healthy children.

According to CDC estimates from the National Immunization Survey (NIS), approximately 62 percent of Minnesota children between the ages of 6 months and 17 years received vaccinations during the 2017-18 influenza season, up slightly from estimates of 60 percent for the previous two years. In general, a flu vaccine works best among healthy younger adults and older children.

As CDC officials point out, not only was last year's flu strain particularly severe, the vaccine against it was only 40 percent effective. The "trivalent" vaccine protects against two strains of influenza A and one strain of influenza B. The quadrivalent protects against two influenza A and two influenza B strains.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older receive a flu shot or nasal spray. "That layer of added protection is important", she said.

Fatal complications from the flu can include pneumonia, stroke and heart attack.

"We don't know what's going to happen, but we're seeing more encouraging signs than we were early past year", CDC flu expert Dr. Daniel Jernigan told the AP. Workplaces where personnel were required to get their flus shot had the highest vaccination rates at 95% compared to 48% among settings where vaccination was not required, promoted or offered on site. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

As measured by doctor and hospital visits, last year's season was the most severe since the pandemic in 2009, according to the CDC.

The experts gathered at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Thursday urged people to get vaccinated by the end of October.

This is perhaps not the most encouraging news as the seasons begin to change and we head into another flu seasons. However, Frank said it should not just be those in the at-risk groups getting the vaccine.

"I think that my generation is a little bit more into holistic techniques and medications right now", said Ashley Vicari, 25, who says getting a flu vaccine is not as important to her and her friends.

Past year 180 children died.