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Flu Vaccine Found to be Nearly 60% Effective

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2015-16 Flu Vaccine Effective

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says this year’s influenza (flu) vaccine is one of the most effective in years. The new CDC report shows people who got the vaccine are 59 percent less likely to get sick with the flu than people who didn’t receive the vaccine.

“This means that getting a flu vaccine this season reduced the risk of having to go to the doctor because of flu by nearly 60 percent,” said Joseph Bresee, M.D., chief of CDC’s Epidemiology and Prevention Branch. “It’s good news and underscores the importance and the benefit of both annual and ongoing vaccination efforts this season.

The main flu strain in circulation this season is H1N1, which is covered by the vaccination. However, that wasn’t the case during the 2014-2015 season. The vaccine only proved to be 23 percent effective because the virus mutated before vaccinations even begin. 

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) says the flu typical peaks in late January or February, but it can be as late as March. That means it’s not too late to get a vaccine. Experts recommend anyone over 6-months-old should be vaccinated against the flu. In addition to the standard vaccine, intradermal vaccine options are available with a much smaller needed or a nasal spray. There is also a high-dose vaccine for those ages 65 and older. 

However, if you didn’t get the vaccine and do contract the flu, there are ways to fight it. 

“Many people assume there is no treatment for the flu beyond over-the-counter medications and rest,” said Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, IDPH Medical Director. “There are actually three anti-viral medications a doctor can prescribe, which make flu illness milder, shorter and reduces the risk of ending up in the hospital or dying from influenza. Antivirals work best if started within 48 hours or sooner of when flu symptoms begin."

If you think you need treatment for the flu or would like to get the vaccine, contact your UnityPoint Health provider for more information.