chvnradio.com

Now Playing What just played?

THE COLOR

ONE SURE THING

Listen Live

Last winter saw a record number of Manitobans get vaccinated for seasonal influenza. Last winter also had the highest number of deaths by lab-confirmed flu in three years, at 46. But don't let that discourage you from getting a flu shot.

Dr. Tim Hilderman, Manitoba Health medical officer of health, vaccines, cautions people about reading too much into mortality rates when it comes to the flu, saying ICU admissions and hospitalizations are a better metric. Still, last winter, 35 people were admitted into intensive care units, and there were 505 total hospitalizations due to influenza during the 2017/18 season -- the highest since 2009/10.

So how's that, if more people were vaccinated than ever before?

For one, Dr. Hilderman says hospitalization and death related to flu has more to do with virus characteristics than the vaccine.

"How aggressive it is in any given year, as opposed to vaccine effects."

And, Dr. Hilderman says, with only about 20 per cent of Manitobans getting the flu vaccine each year, a slight increase (22.5 per cent last year -- 320,000 doses administered) isn't going to have much of an affect on hospitalization rates. Dr. Hilderman says there's no question we would have fewer hospitalizations due to flu if there were a significant increase in the number of people immunized. He says the biggest net benefit would be for people at the highest risk, like people over 65 or under 5.

Flu vaccines protect against specific strains of flu, and won't necessarily protect you from other strains. The strains included in any seasonal flu vaccine are based on what strains are being seen around the world.

As the Government of Canada puts it: "The antigenic characteristics of circulating influenza virus strains provide the basis for selecting the strains included in each year's vaccine."

Dr. Hilderman says the Southern Hemisphere tends to be a predictor of what we see in Canada, but it isn't 100 per cent accurate. He says the Southern Hemisphere has seen an H1N1-dominant year, which he says is a normal, seasonal flu strain at this point. Last year we were dealing with H3N2, which Dr. Hilderman says is harder to vaccinate against and is generally worse in terms of mortality.

According to the Government of Canada, the World Health Organization generally chooses flu vaccine characteristics more than six months ahead of time to give manufacturers time to produce the vaccines.

A flu shot can't give you the flu.

"The inactivated vaccines as well as the flu mist, or the live attenuated vaccine, are made from either killed or weakened versions of the virus, so not capable of producing influenza," says Dr. Hilderman.

Dr. Hilderman says, for those who get vaccinated and then get the flu soon after, often they were already incubating the disease or they get exposed to the virus before the vaccine can fully take effect. Dr. Hilderman says peak protection takes about two weeks.

The province kicked off its annual influenza immunization campaign at Morden Drugstore yesterday.

"Getting the flu vaccine is important for the health of all Manitobans, but especially for those at increased risk of serious illness from the flu, their caregivers, and close family and friends, says Health minister Camerson Friesen in a release. "Every Manitoban knows an infant, a senior, someone with diabetes or asthma, or someone seeking treatment for cancer. Because of this, I encourage Manitobans to protect themselves, as well as others, by getting their no-charge flu immunization this fall."

The seasonal flu vaccine is available free of charge to all Manitobans aged six months and older. It is available at public health offices, nursing stations, doctors' offices, and Access Centres. Regional health authorities will also soon begin immunization clinics.

Share this story!

Be Part of a Story 2018 - current total $12,280

DONATE HERE or call 204.777.0671 Tune into CHVN 95.1 FM or listen online as we share…

Police searching for suspect

Winnipeg Police are asking the public's help in locating a man who allegedly threatened…

Winnipeg man arrested and charged for defrauding veterinarian hospitals

A 29-year-old Winnipeg man has turned himself into Winnipeg Police, ending a months-long…

Therapy dogs visit Providence University College during exam week

Students are going into their exams this week with a lot less stress thanks to some furry…

Winnipeg teen bringing joy to youth up north

A Winnipeg student is hoping she can bring smiles to youth living up north.

Teen who was ISIS captive getting bikes for other refugees in Winnipeg

A Yazidi boy who was held captive for three years by Iraqi militants is now part of a…

WATCH: Lauren Daigle has 'day like no other' at children's hospital

Lauren Daigle's experience at a children's hospital has left her praying that God would…

State of the Inner City report focusing on transit

Despite some improvements being made, transit remains less accessible and more unsafe for…

Local artist Scribe teams up with Siloam Mission

Local Christian music artist Scribe has just released his newest single "Chain Breaker"…

New 2019 Canada Summer Jobs attestation wording released

The federal government has released the reworked and newly worded Canada Summer Jobs…

Manitoba remembers victims of gender based violence

A number of people gathered in the rotunda of the Manitoba Legislature Thursday night to…

VeggieTales writer responds to claims that the cartoon is racist

One of the writers for the beloved Christian cartoon VeggieTales is speaking out after…

Jets visit sick kids

The Winnipeg Jets swooped through the Health Sciences Centre on Thursday and spread a…

Premier launches economic growth plan at State of the Province

The Manitoba government is changing its economic development practices.

RWB warns of fraudulent tickets

If you plan on seeing the Royal Winnipeg Ballet perform Nutcracker this year, you may…

YouVersion Bible App announces most popular Bible verse of 2018

The most popular Bible app in the world has released the most highlighted, bookmarked,…

Stella's announces firing of vice president

A Winnipeg restaurant chain embroiled in allegations of wide-spread workplace harassment…

Veteran camps in cold to draw donations for community dinner

For the second year in a row, a Manitoba man is camping outside Winnipeg's Thunderbird…

Government drops 'values test' from Summer Jobs program applications

The Liberal government says that it has removed wording from applications for the…

Threat shuts down Winnipeg office buildings

Another day, another threat - this time involving Great West Life.