'We Have a Good, But Not Great, Flu Vaccine'

The Big Number: Millions of flu vaccines will be offered this season

The Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR), which manages the national influenza surveillance programme on behalf of the Ministry of Health, has extended the monitoring period for another month after a late season spike.

In addition to the single day that the vaccinations were offered, the flu clinic was not extensively advertised to students - two emails were sent out, one on September 28 and another on the day of the clinic.

After last year's deadly flu season, the Center for Disease Control is urging people to get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Those with compromised immune systems should talk to their physician about whether a flu shot is appropriate. "A person can be infected with the flu virus for as long as a week before they even exhibit symptoms". Most standard-dose shots that people get this year will be quadrivalent, meaning they can protect against four viruses.

Freshman Georgia Wainwright said the SHS has done a great job making flu shots readily available to students. SHS employees will also offer students flu shots at "Pancakes with Pat" events.

"The vaccine covered four of the viruses circulating globally, including the Flu A (H1N1) that we are now seeing most commonly in New Zealand". "Not every year is going to be a high-severity flu season".

Chris Faldon, nurse consultant at NHS Borders, said: "Flu is a serious illness which can be life threatening and kills more people in this country than any other vaccine-preventable disease". They're recommended by everyone from 6 months old and up. It is important to stress that the flu vaccine offered to those aged 65-74 this winter still provides protection.

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During last winter's flu season, vaccines barely worked at all in keeping seniors out of the hospital, with roughly 24 percent effectiveness.

Traditional flu vaccines (called "trivalent" vaccines) protect against three flu viruses: influenza A (H1N1), influenza A (H3N2) and influenza B. You may also come across vaccines called "quadrivalent" vaccines which protect against an additional B virus.

"Currently, vaccination is the best prevention of viral diseases".

"Some vulnerable people may not receive flu vaccination, but if the people around them are vaccinated, we collectively develop herd immunity that protects them", says Webster.

The flu vaccine is available free of charge at local public health offices, nursing stations, doctors' offices, and Access Centres. That's the thing with influenza.

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