Flu season: When should you get vaccinated?

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Seasonal flu vaccines for the Northern Hemisphere's flu season will still contain the earlier H3N2 strain, and its trivalent vaccine's B strain will be the Victoria-lineage virus.

Prof Murphy said that now only around 70% of eligible Australians take up the offer of a free vaccine through the National Immunisation Program.

Flu viruses are constantly changing, thus the flu strains in the vaccine is reviewed each year and updated as needed based on which flu viruses are circulating, making people sick, and how well the flu strains in the previous season's vaccine protects against those viruses.

The latest Australian Influenza Surveillance Report, to 15 September 2017, shows that there has been more than two and a half times the number of laboratory confirmed notifications of flu reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System this year, compared to last year.

For the 2017-2018 season, vaccine manufacturers have estimated that up to 166 million doses of injectable influenza vaccine will be available in the U.S. More than 73 million doses of flu vaccine have already been delivered. Getting vaccinated against the flu can also protect a baby from flu after birth.

"I urge everyone 6 months and older to do the same as soon as vaccine is available in their community", said Price.

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Last season, the flu infected 5,001 people in Allegheny County and 1,640 in Westmoreland County, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. "Older adults, pregnant women, young children and those with certain medical conditions are most at risk".

"That an extra two million Australians were likely to have a flu vaccination this year due to their availability through community pharmacy points to the success of the scheme, and the need to extend it further next year".

But too few children and adults get their yearly flu shot, he noted. "It is critical to maintain the highest level of vaccination coverage for older adults because they are disproportionally affected by flu".

Among children age 6 months through 23 months, the vaccination rate was 76.3 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While the impact of flu varies, it places a substantial burden on the health of people in the United States each year. Pneumococcal disease is often a common and deadly complication of influenza. The American Academy of Pediatrics later came out saying the nasal vaccine had been ineffective for the previous three flu seasons. The study examined data from four flu seasons between 2010 and 2014.

Although not a substitute for getting an annual flu vaccine, health officials also stressed the importance of everyday preventive actions to decrease the spread of flu and the appropriate use of influenza antiviral drugs to treat influenza as part of the CDC "Take 3" approach to fight the flu.

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