Health officials in B.C. say this year’s flu vaccine has been particularly effective.
According to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC), this year’s dominant flu strain was of the H1N1 variety, a flu type with which vaccines have historically had success, said CDC influenza lead Danuta Skowronski.
She said this year’s mid-season analysis by the Canadian Sentinel Practitioner Surveillance Network (SPSN) has reported encouraging results.
“We’re quite pleased with the estimate of vaccine prevention this year,” she said.
“The vaccine effectiveness this year is good at about 70 per cent. The exact estimate is 72 per cent, but an estimate of 70 per cent means that seven out of 10 unvaccinated cases could have been prevented, had those individuals instead chosen to be vaccinated.”
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According to the BC CDC, the H1N1 virus tends to have the most effect children and non-elderly adults, while the H3N2 strain is more of a problem for the elderly.
The vaccine is effective against both strains, along with influenza B, which may yet rear its head and tends to appear later in the season.
“It’s not too late. In many parts of Canada, including British Columbia, we have passed the peak in influenza activity due to the currently dominating strain, which is an H1N1 kind of strain,” Skowronski said.
“But we have to remember that even after we’ve passed the peak, there are still several weeks of influenza activity even on the downslope of the curve.”
However, Skowronski said people interested in the vaccine are still encouraged to get it earlier in the season before the annual flu peak.
She said that across the four western Canadian provinces, about 30 to 40 per cent of the entire population opted to get the vaccine this year.