Stagnant flu vaccine rates worry United States health officials

Frederick Owens
September 29, 2017

Seasonal influenza vaccines are created to protect against the three or four strains that research indicates will be most common in a given year, according to the CDC. Researchers say that even if people who are vaccinated get the flu, and need to be hospitalized, the vaccine can still offer partial protection and lower the risk of death from the infection.

All ages are welcome, however, children under the age of 6 months are not advised to receive the vaccination unless recommended by a physician. A flu vaccine is the first and best way to prevent influenza.

Flu vaccine rates were stagnant overall in the United States during the 2016-17 season, prompting health officials to urge people to get vaccinated before the unpredictable virus kicks into gear. He says getting shots cannot only protect your co-workers, classmates, and neighbors, but also your longevity. St. Anthony providers say that although their patients hear the word "flu" frequently, they still have many questions about what influenza really is and the best ways to protect themselves and their loved ones.

"We are pleased to see that the decrease in vaccination coverage among adults age 50 and older we saw in the 2015-2016 season was not sustained during the 2016-2017 season", said Dr. Kathleen Neuzil, director of the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland. Australia, which experiences its flu season in summer because it's in the southern hemisphere, has been hard hit this year. During the 2016-2017 season, the hospitalization rate was almost double that of the 2015-2016 season and higher across all age groups (cumulative rate for all ages of 62.6/100,000) than the previous eight seasons, with the exception of the 2014-2015 season. "This is particularly true for certain groups: older adults, pregnant women, people with some long-term medical conditions and young children", he explained. In most seasons, the higher hospitalization rates are among older adults 65 and older.

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Price, who received his flu shot at the press conference, said the vaccine can prevent serious health challenges including hospitalization.

Those who were in a good mood the weeks before the shot, and especially the day of it, were found to have higher levels of flu antibodies - up to 14 percent more, according to Futurism. "Influenza is an unpredictable infectious disease". The study investigators aimed to identify which factor, or combination of factors, has the greatest impact on the ability of vaccines to protect against disease.

He said that for this season, health officials are recommending only injectable vaccines, not nasal spray flu vaccine. Three FDA-approved influenza antiviral drugs are recommended for use in the USA during the 2017-2018 influenza season: oseltamivir (generic version or Tamiflu®), zanamivir (Relenza®), and peramivir (Rapivab®).

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