Let’s Talk About…The Flu

We are now well into “Flu season”.

Here are a few updates from the NYS Department of Health from the past week regarding Influenza:

  1. There has been a 54% increase in laboratory-confirmed influenza reports in the state of New York. 
  2. The number of patients hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza has increased 22%.
  3. Up until now, there has been one influenza-associated pediatric death reported this season.

Here are some of the FAQs we are hearing at Genesis Pediatrics regarding Influenza and the Flu vaccine.

  • Are you still recommending that my child(ren) receive the flu vaccine, even though it’s January?
    • Yes, absolutely! It’s not too late!  We will vaccinate our patients well into the spring, as long as circulating influenza strains are still prevalent in our community.
    • All caregivers and older siblings of newborn babies should receive a flu vaccine.
    • Those children who are now 6 months of age should receive their influenza vaccine AND a booster dose 28 days later.
  • Is it true that the flu vaccine is only 10% effective this year?
    •  There are 4 strains of influenza present in the vaccine – two A strains and two B strains. The body makes antibodies to all 4 strains found in the vaccine. If the body is exposed to these 4 specific strains of the flu virus, the body is protected. If the body is exposed to similar strains of the flu virus found in the community, the vaccine continues to offer protection against all influenza viruses, and can reduce the severity of illness for those who do get the flu. 
    • The 10% vaccine effectiveness figure recently reported in the news is an estimate of the vaccine’s benefit against one flu strain (the H3N2 strain) that circulated in Australia during its most recent flu season. 

If you are interested in learning more about Influenza, the vaccine, or this season’s effectiveness, please visit CDC FAQs 2017-2018 Influenza Season