Flu vaccine shows moderate success statewide

Staff Writer

Preliminary date released this week estimates the 2017-18 flu vaccine to be 36 percent overall effective at preventing flu illness. Washington’s health officials want everyone to know it isn’t too late to get a flu shot since flu activity is still expected to be high for several more weeks.
“Washington has seen a lot of the H3N2 strain of flu, which causes more severe illness in young children and those over 65 years old,” said thestate’s Communicable Disease Epidemiologist, Dr. Scott Lindquist. “This year’s vaccine protects against H3N2, but that strain of the virus is known to change frequently throughout the season, making the vaccine less effective against the virus. Protection is higher against other strains included in the vaccine and can help flu illness be milder and shorter for those who still get sick.”
The Department of Health urges everyone aged six months and older, including pregnant women, to receive a flu shot.
KnockOutFlu.org offers places to receive a vaccine, weekly flu activity updates, and frequently asked questions and concerns about the flu vaccine.
“There are important steps to take to avoid getting the flu; get a flu shot every year, avoid contact with sick people, wash your hands often and stay home if you’re sick. No vaccine is 100 percent effective, but they still provide some protection against serious flu complications, including death,” Lindquist said.