Health officials encourage Albertans to get their 'very effective' flu shot

This season’s flu shot far more effective than last year's, research finds

This season’s flu shot far more effective than last year's, research finds

A nasty strain of influenza hitting children and middle-aged people peaked three weeks ago but health officials warn flu season is not over. This year we have had very little "B" but that's not to say we won't see it.

"We've certainly seen the number of lab-confirmed cases come down", Waters said.

The flu season typically peaks between Christmas and New Year's Eve, said Waters. "The flu season is not over".

Island Health is still encouraging people, especially care givers, to be vaccinated and to practise rigorous hygiene to prevent catching or spreading the virus. Dr. Hu says it's impossible to predict what form of the flu will be more prevalent each season.

Doctors say that preliminary reports show the flu shot seems to have reduced the risk posed by the H1N1 flu strain by approximately 72 percent.

Dr. Danuta Skowronski, lead researcher of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, said there has been a high level of protection against particular H1N1 flu strains this year across all age groups in Canada, including children, to the tune of 72 per cent.

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We're only about halfway through the flu season in Calgary, but Alberta Health Services says there is a lot to be proud about with the effectiveness of the seasonal flu shot.

On Vancouver Island, the influenza A H1N1 virus has sent children and people in their forties and fifties to hospital this season. According to the county's weekly flu report for the week of January 13-19, the county has lab- confirmed 3,097 flu cases so far this flu season, compared to 13,644 at this time a year ago. "In many parts of Canada, including British Columbia, we have passed the peak in influenza activity due to the now dominating strain, which is an H1N1 kind of strain", Skowronski said.

The deaths bring the county's flu season death toll to 24, a far cry from the 174 deaths reported at this time last season.

Almost 150 Calgarians had been hospitalized due to the flu as of last Saturday and 25 Albertans have died.

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.

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