Doctors encourage flu vaccine late in season

Doctors encourage flu vaccine late in season

However, the CDC did not explicitly endorse the nasal vaccine for the next flu season, recommending instead that patients and doctors decide.

A record number of Coloradans have been hospitalized for the flu this year, and metro-area health officials are urging residents to get the vaccine for the contagious illness if they haven't already done so.

"As it's turning out, the majority of the kids nationally who died from the flu did not get the vaccine", said Douglas.

Although the current vaccine is only about 25% effective against that particular strain, vaccination can still prevent thousands of cases of influenza, according to CDC. Dr. Willaim Schaffner who is the Vanderbilt University Flu expert tells,"The vaccine itself contains only purified parts of the virus; there is no live virus in the injectable vaccine, so it is impossible for the vaccine to cause the disease".

The flu hit the United States and Asia hard this year, with widespread reports of deaths and hospitalizations, but the effects in Europe have been mild, especially among US forces, Coldren said.

"We know as long as there is flu activity out there, you should get vaccinated and that's one of the best things you can do to reduce your risk and reducing the severity of the flu if you do get it", said McCall. By comparison it is 42 percent effective against influenza Type B viruses in Europe.

Higa said researchers are looking at a cell-based vaccine approach that could lead to a more effective flu shot.




The deadly flu season is far from over, and now it's strain B that's spreading fast in Texas. "The vaccine is never ideal, but is does appear to still have some protectiveness to it".

Toward these ends, scientists at FDA are collaborating with colleagues at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to use a large database that includes details of the flu vaccines administered to four million individuals along with whether they were hospitalized for influenza or treated with antiviral medications for influenza-like illness.

Health officials say this year's worse-than-average flu season is finally showing signs of loosening its grip across the U.S.

Some theories: Maybe protection against H3N2 requires "a higher amount of H3N2 antigen to elicit a proper immune response", compared to that needed against other strains, Gottlieb said. 17, the agency said that 6.4 percent of visits to doctors were for the flu - down from 7.5 percent the week before.

"We must continue to be diligent in doing our part to prevent the spread of flu however possible", he added, "including remembering to wash your hands frequently and staying home when you are sick".

"We're planning for the flu all year", Powell said.

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