Health Dept.: Flu on the rise in Vermont – get vaccinated

NEWS RELEASE — Vermont Department of Health
Jan. 4, 2013

For Immediate Release: January 4, 2013

Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health

BURLINGTON – For the first time this flu season, the Vermont Department of Health reported widespread influenza activity this week to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with influenza-like illness confirmed in all areas of the state.

“Everyone age 6 months and older should be vaccinated against seasonal flu,” said Patsy Kelso, state epidemiologist for infectious disease. “Flu can be a serious illness, especially for the very young and very old, and a typical season can last well into March.”

Ask your health care provider for a flu vaccine, or get vaccinated at a local pharmacy. Vaccine is also available, by appointment, at no charge for children up through age 18 at the 12 Health Department district offices.

Take the following simple precautions to help keep illness from spreading:

· Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

· Cough or sneeze into a tissue and then throw it away.

· Wash your hands often, especially after you cough or sneeze.

· Use alcohol-based hand wipes and gel sanitizers if soap and water are not available.

· Stay home from work or school if you are sick.

For more information visit:

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  • Dorian Yates

    Good precautions from the Health Department to keep flu from spreading. However in terms of the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, the international Cochrane Collaborative, which reviews scientific data for accuracy and lack of bias, has conducted numerous scientific reviews on the efficacy of flu vaccines. Its studies have found that there is no compelling data to demonstrate the efficacy of the vaccine in preventing flu nor its ability to affect lost working days.

    In its review of health care workers and the elderly:
    “We conclude that there is no evidence that only vaccinating healthcare workers prevents laboratory-proven influenza, pneumonia, and death from pneumonia in elderly residents in long-term care facilities.—

    Its review of 75 studies on the efficacy of the flu vaccine to prevent flu in the elderly, the Collaborative found, “Due to the poor quality of the available evidence, any conclusions regarding the effects of influenza vaccines for people aged 65 years or older cannot be drawn.”

    Cochrane also reviewed studies on the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing flu in healthy adults. The review found that, “Vaccine use did not affect the number of people hospitalised or working days lost but caused one case of Guillian-Barré syndrome (a major neurological condition leading to paralysis) for every one million vaccinations. —”

    While assessing the ability of flu vaccine to prevent flu in healthy children, the review concluded that, “In children under the age of two, the efficacy of inactivated vaccine was similar to placebo.”—

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