Doctors Encourage Flu Vaccine Late in Season
(The following is an excerpt from a news article by WDAM’s Melissa Egan.)
The deadly flu season may be showing signs of slowing down, slightly. But, local medical professionals are still warning of the risks with the virus.
Last week, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported the second pediatric flu death this season.
Dr. Daniel McCall, IV, a physician leader for Hattiesburg Clinic’s Population Health Initiatives, has one strong message – “you need to get a flu shot, if you haven’t already.”
“We know as long as there is flu activity out there, you should get vaccinated and that’s one of the best things you can do to reduce your risk and reducing the severity of the flu if you do get it,” said McCall.
According to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this season’s flu vaccine is 36 percent effective overall against influenza and 25 percent effective against the predominant strain (H3) causing most of the infections in Mississippi and the United States. The estimates of overall flu vaccine effectiveness for children are higher with an estimated 59 percent effectiveness against all types of Influenza in children 6 months to 8 years of age.
“As the flu season progresses, there is a shift from Influenza A to Influenza B, so it’s really important still that we take this seriously and make sure everyone gets their flu shot,” McCall said.
While the vaccine can vary in how well it works for individuals, McCall said it is still the best way to prevent the flu and can reduce illness, hospitalizations or deaths. According to the CDC, 74 percent of the reported pediatric flu deaths nationally this year were in unvaccinated children.
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