Published: Wed, October 03, 2018
Medical | By

Local Doctor: It’s time to get your flu shot

Local Doctor: It’s time to get your flu shot

One of the key demographics for the flu campaign is health workers.

The estimates were released at a news conference by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases to urge Americans to get vaccinated and to fight the myths that scare off some people - such as the common misconception that flu shots can cause flu.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, revealed the total in an interview Tuesday night with The Associated Press. "It's now believed that part of the reason that the vaccine was not as protective is that the flu strain used to manufacture the vaccine mutated very subtly during the development process".

"That's huge", said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University vaccine expert. CDC Spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said, "across the board, past year was definitely bad". When flu season begins and when it peaks shifts from year to year.

If a person does get the flu, the FDA approved this month the first generic version of Tamiflu, making flu treatment cheaper.

The season peaked in early February and it was mostly over by the end of March. However, it can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to take effect, so you could still catch the flu during this period. Although the flu season doesn't normally get into full swing until after November, now is the time to get vaccinated. Eighty percent of the children who died past year were not vaccinated.

Despite this risk, last flu season, just 49.1 - less than half - of the pregnant women in the USA got a flu vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CDC officials called the 80,000 figure preliminary, and it may be slightly revised.

"If that's something that's a little bit easier for families, and we heard that is something they were asking for, so we are happy to expand that", Hoffman said.

It's virtually impossible to predict the coming flu season. "We don't have a tissue, we cough into our upper sleeve".

In the last flu season, there were 92 deaths among hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza. And according to the FDA, the 2018-2019 flu season officially started the last week of September. As a result, too many at risk individuals, including elderly Americans, succumb to influenza and too many of them die.

The Health Department says it is particularly important for young children, older adults, pregnant women and folks who live with those groups to get vaccinated to prevent serious complications to the flu.

And how bad is it going to be?

They speculate that some people decided that flu vaccines, which are never as effective as most other vaccines even in a good year, aren't worth the effort.

The makeup of the vaccine has been changed this year to try to better protect against expected strains.

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