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​Flu vaccine may have low effectiveness against dominant strain, Canada's top public health doctor says

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  • ​Flu vaccine may have low effectiveness against dominant strain, Canada's top public health doctor says

    Flu vaccine may have low effectiveness against dominant strain, Canada's top public health doctor says
    ...
    By Nicole Ireland, CBC News Posted: Jan 06, 2018 6:01 AM ET Last Updated: Jan 08, 2018 12:09 PM ET

    Canada's chief public health officer says it's possible that this year's flu vaccine may have limited effectiveness against a particularly severe strain of influenza A that appears to be dominant throughout Canada.

    "In Canada it's still too early to actually tell how effective this vaccine will be," Dr. Theresa Tam told CBC News. "There is a potential ... of low vaccine effectiveness, but we really can't tell at this point in time."
    ...
    Tam said that given the burden of influenza B on kids, the national advisory committee on immunization recommends children receive the "quadrivalent" vaccine, which protects against four strains of flu, including two B strains. The quadrivalent vaccine available in Canada right now covers the B strain that is currently circulating, she said. The other type of vaccine — called "trivalent" because it covers three strains of flu — "unfortunately" doesn't cover that B strain.
    ...
    PHAC's flu surveillance data are consistent with what health-care providers are observing, said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at University Health Network in Toronto.

    "There are early indicators that this influenza season is a little bit more severe compared to prior influenza seasons. Certainly we're seeing that in the hospital," he said.
    ...
    Bogoch said the potential weakness in the flu vaccine's ability to protect against the H3N2 strain is an issue this year, noting he's seen early data suggesting it may be only 10 per cent effective.

    Despite that, he said, "it's still extremely important to get the vaccine."

    "Anyone that's had influenza, and I mean real influenza — not a sniffle or a cough or a cold — but real, true influenza, they'll know how severe this can be," Bogoch said. "I think many people would readily take that 10-per-cent reduction in risk just because this can be such a debilitating and severe illness."
    ...

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/flu-va...h3n2-1.4476100
    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela
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