The flu season is finally upon us, but recent reports revealed that this year’s flu shot may be ineffective. Reports coming out of Australia, where the yearly flu strikes first, indicate 93,000 cases of H3N2, a subtype of influenza A. That’s more than double the usual number of cases, and particularly worrisome given influenza A typically hits young children and the elderly the hardest.
Australia, and now Canada, have experienced cases of influenza B. In B.C., doctors say that they’ve seen five times the usual amount of influenza B cases. So far, Canada has experienced nearly 2,100 cases of the the flu, with 84 per cent of those being influenza A diagnoses. Those infections led to 371 hospitalizations, 21 ICU admissions, and eight deaths.
This year’s vaccine uses strains recommended by the World Health Organization in February: A/H1N1, A/H3N2 and B/Victoria. But those strains aren’t exact matches to the two strains that are now circulating through the population. Australian health records show an effectiveness of less than 10 per cent for the same vaccine used by Canada. But health officials still recommend getting the flu shot, saying it still inoculates against H1N1 and is better than having no protection.
Therefore, do you think it’s worth getting a flu shot this year?