Published: Fri, February 16, 2018
Medical | By Alyssa Little

West Milford residents still encouraged to get flu shot

West Milford residents still encouraged to get flu shot

Interested in Flu Season? It worked best for young children, aged 6 months to 8 years, where it was 59 percent effective.

Based on these numbers, the answer is yes.

It's not clear why the H3N2 component of the vaccine works so poorly. "And we need to understand why", said Skowronski, an influenza epidemiologist at the British Columbia Center for Disease Control. After some people apparently complained that she was a little too sarcastic in her video, it has even spurred an online petition to support her and other nurses and doctors who are "spreading of education during this terrible flu season". That said, receiving the flu shot can reduce the severity of flu symptoms. There are some indications, he said, that some vaccine production techniques produce better H3N2 protection than others do. That said, influenza B activity has picked up in the past few weeks and those viruses can be hard on children; the death toll will likely rise before the season is over.

"Any type of vaccine is better than none", said Scott Hensley, a University of Pennsylvania microbiologist who has led studies that raised critical questions about the vaccine. If you must go out, it's best to cough or sneeze into your elbow to prevent spreading the flu droplets to your hands, and then to everything you touch.

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This year's flu shot has been criticized for having a potentially lower than normal effectiveness. And it was 42 percent effective against Type B flu viruses.

He added that older people generally have less effective immune systems and that many Americans over 65 are facing an extra challenge when it comes to H3N2.

As many as 646,000 people are dying globally from seasonal influenza each year, US health officials said in December, a rise from earlier assessments of the disease's death toll.

The flu shot is only 25 percent effective against the most prevalent strain of the virus circulating during this season's severe flu epidemic.

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"The vaccines that we have today are not the ones that we'd like to have in 10 years", she said. Despite medical professionals' almost universal recommendation that patients get the flu vaccination, the percentage of those who opt out continues to rise.

Since Jan. 1, there have been 175 laboratory-confirmed flu cases in Lewis County, compared to 47 past year for the same period, between Jan. 1 and February 5. The flu vaccine does not contain active viruses and can not infect you.

The estimates, released Thursday, are part of an interim analysis of how well flu vaccine is working this year; data are continuing to be gathered and an end-of-season re-analysis should provide a sharper picture.

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