So a wonderful summer season is now mostly behind us (despite this weekend’s sweltering heat). We primary care doctors are now turning our attention to flu season. I know, I know–I go on about this every year right about now. That’s because, every year, on average, studies suggest that in the US 36,000 people die and 200,000 are hospitalized due to flu (although there is some controversy about those numbers). Still, the great majority of medical and public health experts strongly endorse universal flu vaccination for eligible people.
In the last few years, vaccine efficacy (VE) rates–the percentage decrease in flu incidence in the immunized population–underperformed, protecting only a minority of vaccine recipients. The good news here is that a good chunk of these poor results were due to the “live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV)”–the nasal spray, which came in with a VE rate of a dismal 3%. Accordingly, the CDC has withdrawn recommendation for the LAIV. So even if you hate needles, don’t bother with the nasal spray. Also, 2016-17 vaccine is comprised of several enhanced factors:
- A/California 17/2009 (H1N1) like virus
- A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus
- B/Brisbane/60/2008 (Victoria lineage) like virus
- B/Phukat/3073/2013 (Yamagata lineage) like virus
With these adjustments in our vaccine regimen we can be very hopeful that this year’s version should be most effective and we can save many more lives. BUT ONLY IF WE GET EVERYONE IMMUNIZED!
So give me a call and schedule your children for their flu shot. And recall the benefits to senior citizens in the community from immunizing the pediatric population–as I’ve said before–“Grandma, this shot’s for you!” So extra presents for those brave grandchildren.
Thanks for following…