CDC urges at-risk group to get flu shots

A pharmacist at the Wal Greens on Wilson Street in Brewer prepares to inject a patient with the flu vaccine

A pharmacist at the Wal Greens on Wilson Street in Brewer prepares to inject a patient with the flu vaccine. Brian Swartz Bangor Daily News

The paper says the implications for the Northern Hemisphere are not clear but states that since most of the USA influenza-vaccine supply is now produced in eggs and the composition of the 2017-2018 Northern Hemisphere vaccine is identical to that used in Australia, it is possible that we will experience low vaccine effectiveness against influenza A (H3N2) viruses and a relatively severe influenza season if they predominate.

"They are at high risk of complication from influenza, getting severely ill from influenza, being hospitalized, having a longer hospitalization, ending up in [intensive care] or even dying from influenza", Dr. Dawar said.

If the numbers are any indication of what's to come, people are in for a bad flu season.

This season, the CDC advises that only injectable flu vaccines (flu shots) are recommended.

A Nov. 30 report by the BC Centre of Disease Controlsays that for the time period between Nov. 12 and Nov. 25, flu rates are within the 10-year average and detection "remains at low but increasing levels, with a mix of influenza A and B". Health officials stress that an annual flu shot can still help lessen the severity of illness, and for people at high risk of complications from flu, it can be a life saver. "Even if it's not a ideal match, it's very important, not just for yourself, but also to protect those with whom you may come in contact - including babies too young to get vaccinated and people who have weakened immune systems".

"The flu vaccine takes two weeks to become fully effective", said Dr. Levine.

Flu shots can be obtained at most pharmacies, walk-in clinics and doctor's offices, free of charge.

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