Oakland, CA, Dec. 29, – The flu season is in full force in the Bay Area and local hospitals are admitting a large volume of patients with flu related symptoms. One of the main reasons for the upsurge in flu related illnesses is a general misconception about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine this year.
Dr. Jeffrey Silvers, Sutter Health’s Medical Director of Infection Control says that approximately 75 percent of the patients in Sutter hospitals that were admitted for the flu did not receive a flu vaccination.
“There’s a lot of confusing information being provided from multiple news sources that the flu shot has been only 10 percent effective,” says. Dr. Silvers. “But the data strongly suggests that vaccinated high risk patients are much less likely to be hospitalized.”
- Four strains of Influenza are circulating at the present time but most of the attention has only been on the H3N2 predominant strain, representing about 70 percent of the patients.
- The vaccine for the A H3N2 is predicted by the Centers for Disease Control is about 35 percent effective and efficacy of the other three strains is expected to be higher.
What Should People Do?
“It’s not too late to get a flu shot and everyone six months or older can still get one,” says Dr. Silvers. “It’s important to know that it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take effect.”