Flu vaccine highly effective this year
Canada’s flu vaccine this year is one of the best matches for the circulating strain of the virus in recent years.
A national network of physicians monitoring the circulating strains of influenza reported that the vaccine is a 72 per cent match against the Influenza A H1N1 strain most common in the country this flu season.
“We congratulate everyone in our communities who received the flu shot this year,” said Simcoe Muskoka Associate Medical officer of Health Dr. Colin Lee. “Because of the vaccine’s effectiveness, they have not only protected themselves but they have reduced the burden of illness throughout Simcoe and Muskoka.”
Flu cases continue to increase in Simcoe Muskoka, with 62 new lab-confirmed cases reported in the week of Jan. 13-19. The total number of cases, 240, is higher than last year at this time, but 98 per cent of the cases have been diagnosed as H1N1, the strain covered by the vaccine.
“It’s still a very good idea to get the flu shot if you haven’t this season,” said Lee.
The strain this year has resulted in greater illness among children under the age of 14 and younger adults more than usual.
Last year’s extremely long season resulted in a record number of flu cases in the region. It involved the H3N2 strain, which had a more serious impact on older adults.
The flu shot is available to everyone five years of age and over from most pharmacies in the region, or from professional health care providers for all ages.
For more information on influenza, call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or see www.simcoemuskokahealth.org.