(photo submitted)

Getting The Flu Shot Is Still Your Best Protection

The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit is still urging people to get their flu shots, despite a medical publication saying it’s not very effective this year.

The New England Journal of Medicine says this year’s shot is only about 10% effective against the strain that hit Australia the hardest, which is the one we’re expecting to get.

Public Health Nurse Brett Goudreau says “the implications of Influenza A (H3N2) for North America are not yet clear.” He says “protection against the H3N2 strain is contained within all of this year’s North American flu vaccine but it’s still too early to tell how effective our vaccine will be this season.”

Goudreau says “the relatively low percentage of effectiveness in Australia is due to many factors, including the shifting and changing of the flu virus each season.”

He says getting the flu shot annually continues to be the best protection against the flu, especially for high-risk populations, including seniors, young children, pregnant women and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Goudreau agrees with the authors’ suggestion that research should continue to develop a better and more effective universal flu vaccine designed to decrease illness and death.

Flu shots are available throughout Chatham-Kent from a family healthcare provider, walk-in clinic or many local pharmacies. For more information visit www.ontario.ca/flu.