[2/16/18] Health Officials Say Flu Shot Is Still Recommended

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This flu season, all of us have likely either lived with someone who has or had the flu, worked with someone who has or had the flu- or maybe you had or have the flu.

And, many of us thought we would avoid it with the flu shot. Not the case this year.

Preliminary data, released Thursday, estimates the 2017/18 flu vaccine to be only 36% overall effective at preventing the flu virus.

Despite the low succcess rate, Washington Health officials want everyone to know it isn’t too late to get a flu shot- since flu activity is expected to be high for several more weeks.

This year has been a reminder of just how unpredictable and serious the flu can be.

Every flu season is different based on factors, including the circulating viruses and how well the flu shot protects against those viruses.

Washington State’s Disease Epidemiologist, Dr. Scott Lindquist, says Washington has seen a lot of the H3N2 strain of flu – which causes more severe illness in young children and those over 65 years of age.

Lindquist says this year’s vaccine does protect against the H3N2 virus but that strain is known to change frequently throughout the season, making the vaccine less effective against the virus. Protection is higher against other strains and can help flu illness be milder and shorter for those who do get sick.

The Department of Health is urging everyone ages 6 months and older, including pregnant women, to knock out the flu with a flu shot.

No vaccine is 100% effective, but they still provide some protection against serious flu complications, including death.

Remember, the flu shot is free for all children under the age of 18 in Washington State- – and your insurance will likely pay for most adult vaccinations without a copay.

To learn more visit their website: knockouttheflu.org.