March 22, 2018

Flu Shot Won't Make You Spread More Influenza

16 February 2018, 11:58 | Katie Chavez

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According to ISDH's weekly influenza report, emergency departments and outpatient providers continue to see increased visits from individuals with flu-like illness. "We urge you more than ever to make sure you are washing your hands frequently, staying home when sick to prevent the spread of the disease to others, and if you have not already done so, to go get your flu vaccine". "This being a particularly bad flu year, people can still get prevention with a vaccine", Solomon said.

Twice a year a global vaccine committee comes together to discuss and prepare for flu season.

Flu experts were quick to say the vaccines remain worthwhile.

Three-quarters of those that died did not get a vaccine. "It is modestly effective", said Arnold Monto, a professor of epidemiology at the University of MI and a co-author of the report.

Most illnesses this winter have been caused by a nasty kind of flu called Type A H3N2. Better understanding why the cell-based vaccine offered better protection against H3N2 this season, when compared to the egg-based vaccine, may offer important clues to help improve the production of a more effective H3N2 vaccine for next season.

Overall, the vaccine has been 67 percent effective against the H1N1 flu virus that's also circulating and 42 percent effective against flu B viruses.

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Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), noted in a statement released on Thursday that, "it has been an especially challenging season, with high rates of hospitalization for both influenza and its complications".

Given how contagious the flu has proven to be, a vaccination that prevents even one person from contracting the flu would prevent multitudes of others contracting it from them.

Its 25 percent effectiveness rate means that one out of four people who get the shot reduce their risk of becoming so sick they need to see a doctor.

"It has is a huge lifesaving effectiveness for a certain number of patients", he said.

In previous flu seasons, as many as 85% of children who died after getting the flu had not been vaccinated. If exposed to the flu after receiving the vaccine, the body's immune system will recognize the virus and immediately produce the needed antibodies to fight it.

Now, vaccine efficacy is not easy to predict; after all, vaccines are created to protect against one strain of a particular virus. This strain of influenza has a more severe impact in the elderly and the very young.

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