Doctor Urge Early Vaccinations As Flu Season Approaches

Health officials working to make flu shot more effective

Fall may have just started, but that doesn't mean it isn't time to start thinking about getting your seasonal influenza vaccine.

In an interview with the Associated Press Tuesday, the director of the CDC said an estimated 80,000 Americans died of the flu and complications related to it last winter. Flu activity traditionally begins to increase in October and can last as late as May, with cases typically peaking between December and February.

Influenza is a serious infection that kills many each year and older adults and young children are particularly vulnerable.

'This is a flu vaccine that will significantly boost the effectiveness of the vaccine for people aged 65 and over, ' Dr Diggle said.

Convenience plays a big role in ensuring as many people as possible get a shot.

Private manufacturers, which produce the vaccine, have projected needing between 163 million and 168 million doses of injectable vaccine for the US market for the 2018-2019 flu season.

Flu vaccines that were not wholly effective exacerbated the problem, but Redfield told AP that he'd still "like to see more people get vaccinated".

Vaccines are offered by many doctor's offices, clinics, health departments, and pharmacies. This means the flu vaccine reduced a person's risk of having to seek medical care by 40%, the CDC found. The estimate of 80,000 deaths a year ago, still considered preliminary, eclipses the estimates for every flu season going back to the winter of 1976-1977.

The makeup of the vaccine has been changed this year to try to better protect against expected strains. Estimates for many earlier seasons were not readily available.

"I think a lot of people had a bad experience previous year", she said. Vaccines typically come in trivalent (protecting against three viruses - two A-strains and one B-strain) or quadrivalent (protecting against four strains - two A-strains and two B-strains). But the vaccine has been tweaked to better match circulating strains, including getting an updated H3N2 component.

Those who do miss out on the early shots, however, should get one when they can.

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.

Health officials say the vaccine protects against four different strains of the flu virus.



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