Published: Sat, January 26, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

This year's vaccine 72% effective at preventing flu, scientists say

This year's vaccine 72% effective at preventing flu, scientists say

According to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC), this year's dominant flu strain was of the H1N1 variety, a flu type with which vaccines have historically had success, said CDC influenza lead Danuta Skowronski. Seven of the flu-associated deaths occurred last week. But, in recent years, many measles outbreaks have been reported.

He says the results are compiled from data collected from survey sites along with physician's offices to see how many people are vaccinated and how many have the flu. People over age 65, children under age 2 and individuals with medical conditions should also get a pneumococcal vaccination to prevent pneumonia, according to the CDC.

"Having said that, we have a lot of younger people and children who have ended up in hospital because the sheer numbers of people who have been affected". The reports lift the season's number of pediatric flu deaths to 22. But during this time period in each of the last two years, 23 people under age 65 had died of the flu in the state.

In the last week, there were 5,227 laboratory-confirmed influenza reports across New York State, according to the latest report from the New York State Health Department. There were some 79,000 deaths, and close to a million hospitalizations.

"We're quite pleased with the estimate of vaccine prevention this year", she said.

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About 98 percent of the 752 influenza-positive tests reported to CDC were influenza A viruses.

So it's not too late for people who were not vaccinated to get their shot, especially in regions of the country still seeing rising cases, Skowronski advised.

"But we have to remember that even after we've passed the peak, there are still several weeks of influenza activity even on the downslope of the curve".

"That's why it was important for us to get this (vaccine effectiveness) estimate out because it's offering substantial protection, which may still be important in areas where there is elevated activity".

The Clinton County Health Department in NY says anyone who is old enough should get the flu shot, especially people who spend a lot of time in busy public places.

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