"You have to remember that even in the flu season a year ago where we were really disappointed in the performance of the flu vaccine, it still did save lives", she said. Meaning, prepping ahead and protecting yourself from the flu with the vaccine is going to be crucial to staying healthy during this season.
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Overall, in the a year ago, despite what seems like a low effectiveness rate, the flu shot still managed to cut back on a person's risk of having to go to the doctor's office by 40 percent. "Every flu season is different and influenza infection can affect people differently" states Alisa Freeman, Public Health Nurse supervisor. "And the more of us that have it, the better off the rest of us are".
He said the manufacturers of the flu shot use a process to weaken or kill the flu virus but preserve portions of it beforehand.
According to numbers released by the province, 46 people with lab-confirmed cases of the flu died in Manitoba last winter.
She said getting the flu vaccine serves a dual goal - protecting yourself, and also lessening the amount of flu vaccine that is spread around the community, which helps those who are especially vulnerable to suffering complications from the flu. Even if the flu vaccine does not fully protect against the flu, it may reduce the severity of symptoms and the risk of complications. Don't wait until there is a flu outbreak this winter; get your vaccination as soon as possible, especially if you are in an "at risk" category.
The CDC said that for the conventional shot, there is no "preferential recommendation" between cell-grown versus egg-grown vaccines, or between a vaccine that protects against three flu virus types and a vaccine that protects for four flu virus types.
"Our flu season is usually based on the southern hemisphere's season that is just ending, and in the southern hemisphere, they did not have a awful year this year", Bhardwaj said.
She said sometimes myths surrounding the flu vaccine will keep some people from getting one, so it's important to be able to separate fact from fiction.
"I would get the vaccine now and you don't have to worry about whether it's a mild or a severe season", said William Schaffner, NFID medical director. What this argument doesn't take into consideration, however, is that there's a difficulty in creating these vaccines that may or may not work for everyone, and it's due to the tricky way that flu viruses are constantly mutating.
"The first thing that we really stress is that people need to get the vaccine", Dohack said.
In addition, health care personnel such as aides and assistants working in long-term care settings continue to have some of the lowest flu vaccination rates in the industry. Higher vaccine effectiveness was noted in those younger than 65 (VE: 47.9%; 95% CI: 9.9%-69.9%).