Canadian Flu Shots Outperform the USA

Northern hemisphere influenza season began early with predominant influenza B/Victoria virus circulation
canadian geese on the lake
(Precision Vaccinations)

According to new reports, this season’s flu vaccines are more effective in Canada than in the USA.

According to a Eurosurveillance study published on February 20, 2020, the overall vaccine-effectiveness (VE) against any influenza strain was 58 percent, including 74 percent in children ages 1 to 19 years.

However, flu shot effectiveness for seniors has only been 18 percent this season in Canada.

All influenza vaccines used in Canada were manufactured in eggs and inactivated. 

Overall and by province, 74 percent of publicly-funded doses were quadrivalent, except in British Columbia, where 16 percent of doses overall were quadrivalent and targeted to children.

In Ontario, the high-dose trivalent vaccine was publicly funded for seniors, 65+ years of age.

In the USA, the 2019–20 influenza season began early with predominant influenza B/Victoria virus circulation, followed by increasing A(H1N1)pdm09 virus activity, with ongoing detection of both viruses. 

Through the week ending February 8, 2020, influenza vaccines were reported protecting about 45 percent of all of the recipients against the circulating strains, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The beginning of the US flu season was dominated by influenza B/Victoria, but since December, cases of H1N1 flu have increased.

The study authors also noted that there have been a large number of influenza-associated, pediatric fatalities as of February 15, 2020.

The CDC reported 105 influenza-associated pediatric deaths occurring during the 2019-2020 season, with 72 deaths associated with influenza B viruses.

The CDC says persons aged ≥6 months who have not yet received the influenza vaccine during the current season should get vaccinated to protect against influenza.

In addition, influenza antiviral medications remain an important adjunct to influenza vaccination. 

The CDC recommends antiviral treatment for any patient with suspected or confirmed influenza who is hospitalized, has a severe or progressive illness, or is at high-risk for complications from influenza, including children aged less than 2 years and seniors, regardless of vaccination status or results of point-of-care influenza diagnostic testing.

Antiviral treatment can also be considered for any previously healthy symptomatic outpatient not at high risk for complications, with confirmed or suspected influenza, if treatment can be started within 48 hours of illness onset.

In summary, the CDC strongly suggests people ask a healthcare provider about which medications and vaccines best meet their needs.

Influenza vaccine news is published by Precision Vaccinations.