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Afraid of the needle? CDC approves flu shot alternative
14 September 2018, 03:20 | Silvia Roy
A patient receives a seasonal flu shot at a health clinic in Elmsdale
Each year, the Food and Drug Administration makes a choice regarding that the flu strains that they should try to put inside flu vaccine of this particular year, based upon the suggestions from the WHO.
"We fully acknowledge that the flu vaccine is not as effective as many of our other vaccines", said the medical examiner. While vaccine effectiveness can vary, studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are well-matched to the flu vaccine.
Even though 90 to 95 per cent of seniors living in long-term care and 65.5 per cent of people over 65 living in the community were immunized, all 63 people who died were over the age of 65. Although anyone can get the flu, people who are at high risk of serious illness and even death from the flu are strongly encouraged to get the flu vaccine.
Colorized transmission electron micrograph showing H1N1 influenza virus particles.
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So, the best time to get a flu shot is as soon as possible - and you might even be able to get it for free through your insurance. To study the question, the investigators looked at a database of patients over seven flu seasons, from 2010-2011 to 2016-2017.
It's impossible to predict how bad this year's flu season will be.
It takes two weeks for the body to build immunity after getting the flu vaccine. Men are more likely than women to say they're planning on getting the shot (49% vs 44%) or have already gotten the shot (6% vs 4%).
The main strains that circulated last winter were Flu A (H3N2), which largely affects older people, and Flu B.
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While the flu vaccine is not a ideal defense against the flu, it is still the best way to get protected against flu infection.
"It's key that everyone understands our best protection is a seasonal flu vaccine, which are now available and can help mitigate the severity of this season", said Dr. Andi Shane, medical director of hospital epidemiology at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. According to corresponding author Danuta Skowronski MD, FRCPC, of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, if the findings are confirmed, one day physicians and vaccine developers might consider gender when developing newer influenza vaccines and flu prevention strategies. In addition, the authors noted that previous research has suggested women have "stronger innate and adaptive immune responses, including more pronounced antibody response to influenza vaccine, in association with higher rates of local and systemic adverse events following immunization". This comes from recommendations from the World Health Organization.
The Ottawa County Department of Public Health tells 13 ON YOUR SIDE FluMist is another option but they say it will likely come later and have a limited supply available.
Flu is a viral infection that is spread through coughs and sneezes.
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