Will you get the flu shot?

Will you get the flu shot?

Reports from Australia have caused mounting concern, with record-high numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications and outbreaks and higher-than-average numbers of hospitalizations and deaths and that the vaccine, which is similar to the one being used in the USA had only a 10 percent effectiveness.

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

The report stated that Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Oklahoma have reported widespread activity during the week ending November 25. As health officials rushed to contain the outbreak, the CDC admitted that the 2014 flu vaccine did not protect well against H3N2 - it had just seven percent chance of protection. Flu reporting is largely voluntary and often inconsistent, Bennett said, so the weekly surveillance reports are "just a snapshot" that, examined over time, reveal seasonal trends.

Tonda Francis, vice president of Regional Coordination and Clinical Initiatives at the Health Collaborative, said the rate of employees who are terminated for refusing flu shots is low.

But it's not stopping them from urging people to still get the flu shot.

And in Australia, where the winter flu season has just wrapped up, this season's vaccine was only about 10 percent effective against the H3N2 strain.

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Still, "I believe it's worth getting the vaccine", Siegel said.

For the elderly or others who are especially vulnerable, a doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to help lesson symptoms.

"If you're not excited about getting vaccinated yourself, do it for the people you love", Mills said.

This week is influenza awareness week and with three months of flu season left the goal is to stop those numbers from going up. "Getting an annual flu vaccination protects seniors, and everyone around them, too, including their grandchildren".

Usually, a H3N2 portends a severe flu year, but mild H3N2 years have also occurred, she said. Complications from the flu can be very serious, especially to certain high-risk groups, which includes seniors (those age 65 and older), children (especially those age 2 and younger), pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions such as chronic respiratory illness and diabetes. Qualifying children and adolescents can receive flu vaccine provided by the Texas Vaccines for Children program.

"We do see a predominance of the H3N2 virus that was common last season", Flannery said. Australian health records show an effectiveness of less than 10 per cent for the same vaccine used by Canada. You're less likely to have severe flu.

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