A health researcher says this year’s flu shot was a win for Alberta.
New research shows the influenza vaccine provided better than 50 per cent protection against this year’s dominant flu strain, H3N2. “Our findings were that, in Alberta, we had about a 60 per cent effectiveness of the vaccine,” Dr. James Dickinson, professor of Family Medicine and Community Health Sciences told Global News. “It was less in the rest of the country [because] the virus changed as it spread,” Dickinson said. He said the mutation saw flu shot effectiveness as low as 20 per cent in some other regions of the country.
Dealing with influenza involves a lot of guesswork according to Dickinson, who says anytime the vaccine reaches better than 50 per cent effectiveness is worthwhile. He notes a few years ago, Alberta had nearly no protection during an H3-strain year.
“[The flu virus] changes regularly every year. Sometimes just a little bit; what we call drift. Sometimes it changes a whole lot, a major jump, and when that happens we have real trouble. The trouble is we have to choose at this time of year what’s going to be in the vaccine next year, in order for the companies to make the vaccine.”
Flu season is now winding down. So far this year, 53 people have died flu-related deaths.