It appears this year's influenza vaccine may have slightly missed the mark.

According to preliminary data, adjusted vaccine effectives for any kind of Influenza, either A or B sits at 42 per cent.

Calgary Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Judy MacDonald says the vaccine was less effective against influenza A than it was against B.

"The estimates for vaccine protection against influenza A H3N2 are quite bit lower at 17 per cent, for influenza B it's 55 per cent," she explains. "It's not surprisingly a mixed result when you've got a vaccine such as we do that has multiple components and strains of influenza that are present in the vaccine."

Although the Canadian vaccine effectiveness sits below 50 per cent, MacDonald says we've fared better than Australia, who's influenza season ends as ours starts, with their vaccine effectiveness and just 10 per cent.

MacDonald says it's difficult to create a 100 per cent effective vaccine, adding there's no question scientists are challenged to create a good vaccine against influenza A H3N2.

"The numbers that we get vary from one season to the next and it's likely related to a number of factors. One of them being influenza A H3N2 does tend to mutate or change over time, and it's quite a hard one to nail down in terms of trying to match a vaccine."

Although this year's vaccine may have been less effective than others, MacDonald still encourages Albertans to get our shots.

"We do need a better vaccine, but having said that it's still better than nothing and when you also get the bonus of protection against other influenza viruses that could be circulating. It still is very much something that people should consider as a good thing to get to protect them and others."

From August 28, 2017 to February 10, 2018 Alberta saw approximately 7,500 lab confirmed influenza cases, resulting in 2,300 hospitalizations, and 65 deaths.

 

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