America's Nightmare Flu Season Is Finally Coming to an End

Number of flu cases in Missouri still in thousands but slowly decreasing

"The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted 12 to 2 to include the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV4), also known as the "nasal spray" flu vaccine, as an option for doctors to use during the 2018-2019 season to prevent influenza", a spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told Healthline.

"There are certain situations when it's important for a child to get two vaccines and that has to do with their flu vaccine in the past and certain age groups", said McCall. To find out, FDA plans to analyze Medicaid and Medicare health data on over 4 million Americans to figure out why the flu vaccine they may have received was "less than optimal", Gottlieb said.

"The effectiveness of the vaccine against H3N2 in children 6 months to 8 years of age was 51 percent this season, yet the effectiveness in those 65 years and older was only 17 percent, and the effectiveness in older children and adults under 65 years of age was even lower", Gottlieb said. That can make it hard to determine when the most active part of the season is over. A sea of viruses look and feel like the flu but only 38% of those who sought medical attention during the 2017 - 2018 flu season actually tested positive for the flu.

This year's flu season has resulted in more than 3,550people being hospitalized in Colorado, with one recorded pediatric death in the state.

The Berks Visiting Nurse Association has provided over 1,300 flu shots this year, and there's been strong interest in the vaccine as the news of the bad flu season has intensified, said Amanda Price, a licensed practical nurse for the Berks Visiting Nurse Association.

"That's why we (still) encourage vaccinations ... even if you already got H3N2", she said. The H3N2 strain of flu has been very nasty, health officials say.

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"What we're seeing now is a decrease in the amount of the strain that was less effective by the flu vaccine".

So why did this season's vaccines not deliver higher protection against H3N2? The first dose bolsters the immune system while the second dosage provides protection. As I noted previously, the work conducted with CMS shows a preliminary finding that suggests the cell-based influenza vaccine might be somewhat more effective than the egg-based vaccine.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is already taking steps to improve the flu vaccine's effectiveness for the next flu season, agency Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, wrote in a February 26 statement. And the proportion of outpatient visits for flu-like illness in Georgia was 11.9 percent, down from 15.2 percent. We must continue to be diligent in doing our part to prevent the spread of flu however possible, including remembering to wash your hands frequently and staying home when you are sick.

Those who get the vaccine and still get the flu are less likely to experience flu complications (such as pneumonia) since the virus tends to be milder in people who were vaccinated.

"We're planning for the flu all year", Powell said.

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