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Flu Vaccine Worked Better Than Expected
March 22 2018, 05:54 | Rex Rios
Brian Snyder Reuters
Those already stricken with the flu are encouraged to take antiviral drugs to shorten the duration of symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. The numbers were worse for H3N2. With 63 pediatric flu deaths and still many weeks left in this flu season, the CDC continues to recommend flu vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older who is healthy enough to receive a flu shot.
Frieden, who is now the CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a nonprofit that focuses on preventing epidemics, says this year's flu season, while worse than expected, didn't totally catch us off guard.
Previous reports have shown that the old-fashioned technology used to make most flu vaccines - it involves growing the virus in eggs before making it into vaccines - might cause parts of the H3N2 strain to mutate, making it a poor match for the circulating flu viruses.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar closed his remarks yesterday by saying: "Get a flu shot". "It's better than nothing", she said.
The CDC published interim estimates on vaccine effectiveness, and found that overall effectiveness against influenza A and influenza B since November 2017 has been 36%. Everybody else got no statistically significant benefit. Based on a recent Canadian report, the effectiveness against B strain viruses is estimated to be about 55%.
The Department of Health surveyed physician offices, pharmacies, SUNY Geneseo, and UR Medicine/Noyes Health to see which flu vaccine and how much of each are available. Common flu strains occur enough for most people to build resistance to them, but rarer types like H3N2 aren't frequent enough for many to have reliable resistance.
All across the state, more and more incidents of influenza have been reported this year.
This year's flu had killed 63 children by February 3, the CDC said.
Of those who did have influenza, 43 percent had been vaccinated.
Melaney Arnold is a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health. Test results confirmed flu in 1,712 (38%) of this group.
"It would be too early to say that we've peaked", Nordlund said.
Flu season typically runs from October to May, typically peaking in February.
"America's scientists and clinicians are gold medalists in health and disease research, and is it is up to the United States to lead the world in the response to the flu", Markey said in a statement.
Even in Maryland, some deaths have been reported in connection with the virus. "We are still seeing new cases of the flu if you get a flu vaccine today within the next couple weeks you'll have better immunity, than if you don't get a vaccine".
Flu vaccines are a cocktail - they protect against either three or four strains of flu.