[POLL] 1.2M flu shots, but does it make a difference? (other than to Big Pharma bank accounts)

More than 1.2 million Kiwis have been immunised against the flu this year.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said it was the sixth year in a row that more than a million doses of the seasonal influenza vaccine had been distributed before the peak of the flu season.

The official flu season began last week.

In the week ending July 2, 65 people in New Zealand tested positive for influenza viruses. Since the start of May 302 people had tested positive for influenza.

The vaccine could take up to two weeks to provide protection so it was important to be immunised now, he said.

“The virus can be spread by people who don’t experience symptoms. By being immunised, we not only protect ourselves, but we help to ensure we don’t pass on influenza to our families, friends and colleagues.”

The vaccine is available free for high-risk groups from general practices and many community pharmacies until December 31.

High-risk groups include people 65 and over, pregnant women, those with long-term health conditions such as severe asthma, and children under 5 who have been hospitalised for a respiratory illness.

Those who are not eligible for free immunisation can be vaccinated at GPs and some pharmacies.

The influenza vaccine for the 2017 season includes one new strain based on recommendations from the World Health Organisation.

Flu does kill people; generally the elderly and those with pre-existing respiratory issues.  It tends to hit kids more as they don’t have a broad immunity, but in exchange they tend to burn it off a lot quicker.

As viruses mutate, the vaccine isn’t able to stay ahead of whatever the latest strain has become.  So is getting a shot worth it?

– NZ Herald

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