State reminds flu season is nearing

Health officials working to make flu shot more effective

Last year's vaccine was about 40 percent effective, which is on the low side for the vaccination. Oregon Health Authority officials are advising it's a good time for families to schedule appointments to get flu vaccines. It was a reminder that flu season, which took a big toll previous year, is near again.

Dr. Jasmine Marcelin, an assistant professor in the infectious diseases division at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to provide full protection.

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the best protection against seasonal flu viruses. That type tends to cause more hospitalizations and deaths, particularly among children and the elderly.

At Fairview Clinic in Eagan, they have been giving flu shots since late August. In the USA, peak flu season months are typically November through March.

"Last year's season, it was a nasty season and it went on for a long time", said Dr. Tom Safranek, Nebraska's state epidemiologist.

With the approach of flu season, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is recommending all Ohioans six months and older get a flu shot as soon as possible.

Last winter was not the worst flu season on record, however.

It eclipses the estimates for every flu season going back to the winter of 1976-1977.

This year's trivalent vaccines will protect against the A/Michigan strain, an H1N1-like virus; A/Singapore, an H3N2-like virus; and B/Colorado (Victoria lineage), while the quadrivalent vaccine will also protect against the B/Phuket strain (Yamagata lineage). Estimates for many earlier seasons were not readily available.

More than 42,700 Islanders who fall within these groups will be eligible for vaccines, which will be administered in nurseries, schools, GP surgeries and pharmacies.

"One hundred and eighty kids - this really hit me hard as the father of three kids - died past year from the flu".

Even if a vaccine isn't a ideal match for the year's strains, she said, it's still a good idea to get the shot because the antibodies people produce as a result will protect against the circulating strains and similar ones.

As of September 9, Australia is experiencing a mild flu season with person-to-person transmission of flu-like illness "increasing slowly" since July, according to that nation's most recent surveillance report.

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