Flu preparations: Season should be milder, and the vaccine more effective

Author:
Updated:
Original:

It'll soon be time to think about the upcoming flu season, and about getting a flu shot to guard against the virus. And health officials in Minnesota are hopeful this flu season will not be as severe as the last one.

You may remember that last winter was one of the worst flu seasons in years. Ten children died, more than 4,300 people had to be hospitalized, and dozens of schools had to cancel class days because so many children and staff were sick.

That all came about, in part, because last season's flu vaccine wasn't well-matched to the strain of flu virus that was going around. Health officials reported the vaccine was only 23 percent effective, so many people who got a flu shot still got sick.

The first shipments of this season's flu vaccine are now arriving at clinics and pharmacies in Minnesota, and health officials say it should provide a better defense against the flu virus than last year's version, according to WCCO.

The vaccine formula needs to be updated every year to protect against the flu strains that are expected to be most common. And Joe Kurland, a vaccine specialist at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, is "cautiously optimistic" this year's formula will be a good match, MPR News reports.

The challenge for health officials will be to try and counter the skepticism some people might have about the flu vaccine because of last year's severe flu season, MPR notes.

But Kurland said he thinks it'll be easier to convince people to get a flu shot this year because they want to avoid getting sick.

"People might say, 'I don't want to go through that again; let's get the flu vaccine,'" he said, according to MPR News.

Health officials also point out that even if the vaccine isn't a great match to the particular flu strain, it still can help by easing the symptoms.

Flu season typically lasts from October to April, but usually peaks in January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It takes about two weeks after you get a flu shot for it to be fully effective, so health officials recommend you get vaccinated as early as possible.

The Minnesota Department of Health has more information about the flu and the flu vaccine here.

Next Up

montana cutbank

Charges: Man shot victim 'without provocation' using sawed-off shotgun

The incident happened on Nov. 24 in Ten Lake Township, located in Beltrami County.

Governor Tim Walz

Watch live: Walz, first responders address Minnesotans

Some departments have been forced to shift staffing or suspend service due to COVID-19.

covid-19, coronavirus

CDC says COVID-19 quarantine period can be cut to 10 or 7 days

You can come out of a 7-day quarantine following exposure provided you've had a negative test.

maple grove fire

1 person found dead inside Maple Grove business that burned down

A person had been unaccounted following the fire that destroyed Hanson Implement and Storage Tuesday night.

One-dollar bill, cash, money

Appeals court rules MN high school students can get unemployment benefits

They've been denied the benefits, and some were even asked to pay them back.

covid-19, coronavirus

Dec. 2 COVID-19 update: 77 more deaths in Minnesota

The death toll is closing in on 3,700 in Minnesota.

City Pages

Fan creates City Pages archive, Star Tribune tells him to remove it

After word spread that the defunct newspaper's website would go down, a fan created his own copy. Then he got a cease and desist letter.

Adam Thielen

Vikings activate Adam Thielen off COVID-19/reserve list

The star receiver missed last week's victory over Carolina.

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 10.27.14 AM

Naked man shot by St. Paul cop is charged for sexual assault of ex-girlfriend

The 31-year-old suspect remains at Regions Hospital after being shot.

Lindsay Whalen

Whalen's Gophers start season with only 7 players available

Whalen isn't happy that a transfer wasn't granted immediate eligibility to play.

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 9.21.08 AM

Baby steals the show in Minnesota family's viral TikTok video

Definitely busting out that wobbly baby move at the next party...

Related