General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 19th Feb 2018

    View this newsletter in full

US study finds 36% flu vaccine protection, 25% against H3N2

In the U.S., an eagerly awaited estimate of flu vaccine effectiveness so far this season confirmed that protection against the H3N2 strain is low and not much different than a similar report from Canada earlier this month. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said that FDA tests on vaccine lots casts doubt on egg-based mutations as the cause of lower observed efficacy, given that agency scientists have confirmed, as part of quality control tests, that the genetic sequence in the vaccine strains used by manufacturers were the same as those provided to them at the beginning of the production process.
17th Feb 2018 - CIDRAP

Health officials urge Americans to get the flu shot in emergency press conference after figures showed it is less than 25% effective against this season's deadliest strain

17th Feb 2018 - Daily Mail

U.S. officials warn "intense" flu season to continue, urge shots

17th Feb 2018 - Reuters

The Flu Vaccine Is Working Better Than Expected, CDC Finds

17th Feb 2018 - New York Times

CDC estimates this year's flu vaccine has been 36 percent effective

17th Feb 2018 - MLive.com

This Season's Flu Vaccine Isn't as Ineffective as We Feared

16th Feb 2018 - io9

CDC: This Year's Flu Vaccine Doing Poor Job Of Preventing Influenza

16th Feb 2018 - CBS Philly

This Year's Flu Vaccine Is Only 36% Effective. Why You Should Still Get It

16th Feb 2018 - Fortune

Flu Vaccine: "Better Than Predicted," But More Work to Do

16th Feb 2018 - Pharmacy Times

Flu Vaccine Act introduced by Sen. Edward Markey: For the creation of a universal influenza vaccine

In the U.S., Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the Flu Vaccine Act, legislation to conduct or support comprehensive research for the creation of a universal influenza vaccine that could be administered once or twice and provide a lifetime of protection. The legislation is calling for a total investment of $1 billion – $200,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023 for the National Institutes of Health
16th Feb 2018 - Outbreak News Today

Markey wants $1B investment to tackle flu

18th Feb 2018 - Gloucester Daily Times

Blumenthal to Call for $1B for Flu Vaccine Development

17th Feb 2018 - U.S. News & World Report

Senators call for $1B for flu vaccine development

17th Feb 2018 - Bellingham Herald

Markey wants $1B investment to tackle flu

18th Feb 2018 - Gloucester Daily Times

Employers who don't offer paid sick leave are making flu season worse, hurting their bottom line

In the U.S., this year's vaccine is less effective against the strain of virus making the rounds. But there's another factor that gives aggressive viruses like this one an extra punch in the United States: lack of access to paid sick time. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 28% of civilian workers — roughly 45 million individuals — have no access to paid sick leave.
18th Feb 2018 - Los Angeles Times

Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD on the efficacy of the 2017-2018 influenza vaccine

U.S. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. published a statement on the efficacy of the 2017-2018 influenza vaccine. He writes: "Ultimately, developing a universal influenza vaccine that provides protection against many different strains of flu from year-to-year would be ideal. However, the reality of such a vaccine is likely to still be several years away. In the meantime, the FDA is collaborating with federal partners and with industry to improve the manufacturing of the current generation of influenza vaccines. In particular, our scientists are interested in looking at continuous manufacturing technologies for cell-based and recombinant vaccines, which could facilitate much more agility in responding to changes in influenza strains. It could have the potential to allow manufacturers to increase production quickly, if necessary."
17th Feb 2018 - FDA.gov

Severe flu season causes 10% drop in blood supplies at North Carolina blood bank

Blood banks across the country, including those that supply blood to North Carolina hospitals, are seeing a decline in blood donations as a result of the widespread, severe flu outbreak.
16th Feb 2018 - Beckers Hospital Review

The Flu Shot Doesn’t Live Up To Expectations — And That Keeps Many Away

Arguably the biggest reason that Americans don’t seem to take the flu vaccine seriously is that it simply doesn’t live up to our expectations for what a vaccine is, and how it should work, said Dr. Pat Salber, founder of the healthcare blog The Doctor Weighs In. Some flu experts hope that the severity of this year’s flu will provide a silver lining, motivating people to get the flu shot this year and in years to come. Typically, fewer than half of all Americans bother to get a flu shot in any given year, and the numbers are mostly concentrated among those who are uniquely vulnerable to the virus: children under 12 years old, and seniors over 65, said Dr. Arnold S. Monto, an epidemiology professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. This leaves out older children and young adults, who have the most opportunities to transmit the flu virus.
16th Feb 2018 - Huffington Post

CDC Releases Interim Estimates on Flu Vaccine Effectiveness as Flu Remains Widespread in North Carolina

With flu activity in North Carolina remaining widespread, state health officials are continuing to encourage North Carolinians to get vaccinated. Interim estimates of vaccine effectiveness released by the CDC show the vaccine is approximately 36 percent effective this season and 59 percent effective for children 6 months to 8 years old. During the 2016-17 flu season, the vaccine was estimated to be 39 percent effective, close to the CDC’s initial estimate for this season.
15th Feb 2018 - North Carolina Health and Human Services

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 16th Feb 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Hospital sued for discriminating against job applicant who refused flu shot

A federal anti-discrimination agency is suing a Michigan hospital for rescinding a job offer after the job applicant refused to get a flu shot because it was against her religion. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit against Owosso-based Memorial Healthcare, saying that the hospital violated the civil rights of a woman who applied for a job with the hospital but had the offer rescinded after she refused a flu shot, the EEOC announced
15th Feb 2018 - Market Watch

EEOC sues Michigan hospital over flu vaccine policy

15th Feb 2018 - Reuters

Vaccine debate gives Italian election campaign a shot in the arm

Mandatory vaccinations are an unexpectedly prominent campaign issue in Italy’s March 4 election. Mainstream parties and insurgent populists are clashing over last year’s move to increase the number of obligatory childhood immunizations from four to 10. The pharmaceutical industry, which recognizes it’s not best placed to reassure skeptics, is largely sitting on the sidelines of fights like Italy’s for now. “Rather than involvement in any one political discussion, our focus is on ensuring that the science, the crucial case for vaccination, is understood across Europe,” said Andrew Powrie-Smith, a spokesman for the Brussels pharma lobby EFPIA.
15th Feb 2018 - POLITICO.eu

Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases discusses seasonal influenza situation and vaccine effectiveness

In Hong Kong, the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases under the Centre for Health Protection convened an urgent meeting to review the latest situation of the local 2017/18 winter influenza season and the effectiveness of the seasonal influenza vaccines of the current season. The SCVPD listened to the presentation by the University of Hong Kong, noting that a recent study from the university's research team found that influenza vaccination effectiveness was estimated to be 66 per cent for hospitalised children.
15th Feb 2018 - Hong Kong Government

Influenza is stretching health clinics to their limit

The flu epidemic has now reached the East Bavarian area with full force. Most of the clinics in Lower Bavaria and the Upper Palatinate report a significant influx in the number of patients, and some had to shut down emergency services again and again because they were unable to accept any more patients due to a lack of emergency beds. According to the Bavarian Ministry of Health, there has been 5,954 influenza cases recorded since the beginning of October 2017, seven patients have now died as a result of the infection. More recent numbers are expected to come out this Friday.
15th Feb 2018 - Suddeutsche.de

The dodgy reasoning of anti flu vaccination articles

Various French language websites are carrying articles claiming the flu vaccine is 99% ineffective or just downright dangerous. The limited effectiveness of the flu vaccine is indeed correct but not to the level claimed by the anti-vaxxer authors. Various other myths need to be debunked as they appear on these sites
15th Feb 2018 - Le Monde

Focus on the flu, not the new

For all the attention on viruses such as Ebola, SARS, Zika and West Nile, influenza remains the biggest killer. Surely, America should invest in a better way to protect against a disease that sickens millions, costs billions of dollars in lost productivity and is fatal to thousands of Americans each year. The biggest payoff would come with production of a “universal vaccine” — one that would protect against multiple versions of the flu for years, eliminate annual vaccinations and be consistently effective.
15th Feb 2018 - USA Today

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 15th Feb 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Studies: Next major outbreak could bring high US job loss

The next large-scale infectious disease outbreak would not just be a public health crisis but also an economic crisis for the United States, in the shape of jobs lost and a draining of the export economy—even if it were to happen halfway around the world—according to two studies from the CDC
14th Feb 2018 - CIDRAP

Acting CDC director Anne Schuchat good match for flu season

When Dr. Anne Schuchat stepped back in as acting director of the U.S. CDC this month, few stories referenced her background in-depth. It was perhaps not needed. Schuchat is a career CDC leader, and has been acting deputy director since 2015. Her expertise was clearly visible in the last two weekly conference calls with reporters on the 2017-2018 influenza season.
14th Feb 2018 - MassLive.com

Thousands rush to get flu shot after 2 children died in Guelph

In Canada, thousands of people in the Guelph area have rushed to flu clinics to get their flu shot after two children died from the flu last week. Chuck Ferguson, a spokesman for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health told CBC News there has "definitely been a spike" in visits to get a flu shot since officials confirmed two children died from flu-related illnesses on Friday, Feb. 9.
14th Feb 2018 - CBC

Health Department to continue no cost flu shots while supplies last

Due to widespread flu activity remaining throughout Louisiana, the Louisiana Department of Health will continue to offer flu vaccines at no cost at Parish Health Units across the state while supplies last. The vaccine is available to anyone who has not yet received a vaccine this flu season.
14th Feb 2018 - KATC Lafayette News

Trump's been silent on the flu epidemic, despite the spike in cases

There’s an epidemic underway in the U.S. about which Trump hasn’t said anything: the flu. Flu hospitalizations have been much higher this season than is usually the case. The flu vaccine is not perfect, and this year’s vaccine has proven less effective than those in other years, but vaccination is still a simple way to reduce infection or the duration of illness. Trump hasn’t promoted the flu vaccine, either through his personal Twitter account, the White House account or the @POTUS account.
14th Feb 2018 - Washington Post

The First Flu You Ever Had Is Secretly Shaping How You Respond to Infections

The year you were born might predict how you’ll respond to this year’s flu—and how well you’d fair in a flu pandemic. Imprinting might be responsible for an unusual pattern in the ages of people going to the hospital with the flu. Specifically, the first flu virus a person catches shapes their immune response to other strains encountered later in life.
14th Feb 2018 - Newsweek

Trump could help curb a potential pandemic. Instead, he has been silent

The 2018 flu outbreak is on track to rival the swine flu epidemic of 2009, which made 60 million Americans sick, hospitalized more than a quarter of a million and killed more than 12,000. Our best defense against a pandemic reaching our shores is an investment in global health security: stopping diseases overseas. But the Trump administration has undertaken a stunning reversal of 16 years of progress
14th Feb 2018 - Washington Post

These patches could be new way to deliver flu vaccine

Researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University are working together on a new way to deliver the flu vaccine using microneedles on a patch the size of a small, round Band-Aid. The first human study took place at Emory University's Hope Clinic, with 100 people, and the results were promising. More clinical trials, funded by a grant from the NIH, are necessary before the patch can gain approval from the FDA
14th Feb 2018 - WSB Atlanta

Michigan anti-vaccination case due back in court for motion hearing

In the U.S., a controversial vaccination case continued in Oakland County Circuit Court and several motions were resolved in judge's chambers. Lori Matheson is fighting her ex-husband Michael Schmitt for the right to decide if their 2-year-old daughter should be vaccinated. Matheson does not want her child to get vaccines. She said autoimmune disease runs in her family and she believes vaccines lead to autism.
14th Feb 2018 - ClickonDetroit.com

Public Health Experts Look Ahead to Better Flu Control

Vaccine effectiveness numbers for this year's flu season have yet to be released, but experts are already looking at flaws in the vaccination process, and how improvements can be made. "We've become a little bit used to the idea that the flu vaccine is not a great vaccine," Marc Lipsitch, DPhil, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said during a forum. The medical community faces significant challenges in upcoming flu seasons, according to the expert panel at the forum. Despite potential cuts to CDC funding, they said they hope for increases in vaccine development and influenza research.
13th Feb 2018 - MedPage Today

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 14th Feb 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Employers who don't offer paid sick leave are making flu season worse

This year's vaccine is less effective against the strain of virus making the rounds. But there's another factor that gives aggressive viruses like this one an extra punch in the United States: lack of access to paid sick time. In recent years, a number of studies have attempted to quantify the extent to which sick employees are making influenza outbreaks worse. In 2010, a policy brief published by the Institute for Women's Policy Research used data from the CDC and the BLS to estimate that during the virulent 2009 flu season, about 8 million American workers went to work while infected with the influenza virus, causing an additional 7 million people to get sick in the process.
13th Feb 2018 - Napa Valley Register

Millions of Americans can't stay home with the flu, so it spreads

13th Feb 2018 - Popular Science

Stop the Flu With Paid Sick Leave

13th Feb 2018 - Pay Scale

Why there are conflicting numbers on the flu shot efficacy

Dr. Mark Loeb, an infectious disease expert with the department of medicine at McMaster University, said it's challenging to pinpoint how effective the flu shot is in preventing the flu because it depends on what strain is being discussed. "The match this year between what's in the vaccine and what's circulating is pretty good on paper, but sometimes in the manufacturing process, there's changes that occur even in to the strain that is made in the vaccine and that can cause a difference," he said. Early estimates of effectiveness for this year's strain of influenza A suggests it sits around 10 to 20 per cent and 55 per cent for influenza B.
13th Feb 2018 - CBC

How We Can Prevent the Next Killer Flu Epidemic

There are many avenues to explore in order to improve our response to the flu; for instance, regulators should encourage manufacturers to stop using chicken eggs and instead prepare vaccines in “cultured cells”. This method would produce vaccines with greater fidelity to the targeted flu strains. There is also a need for more clinical research on making flu vaccination more effective in elderly vaccinees. An increase in research funding on adjuvants, more effective dosing regimens (especially for seniors) and better production methods are achievable changes that would better prepare us to face flu outbreaks.
13th Feb 2018 - Newsweek

How did researchers get the flu vaccine so wrong this year?

The CDC reports this year's flu vaccine is only about 30 percent effective against the flu's most common strain this year. Technically, researchers had the right answers when formulating this year's flu vaccine. But the virus cheated. The vaccine creation process takes roughly six to nine months and during the time the virus— either circulating or within the vaccine itself — can mutate and render those projections moot.
13th Feb 2018 - WFAA

President Trump has been dangerously silent on this year's deadly flu epidemic

In the U.S., the flu season is severe. As of last week, the flu and pneumonia are causing one in 10 deaths in America. Yet the White House has been largely silent about it. The Trump administration’s handling of this year’s dangerous flu season has included some missteps and missed opportunities. Michael Osterholm of the CDC, said the CDC has done its job this flu season. While the president saying he got a flu shot would be helpful, he said, it’s not critical. Instead, he cautioned that what will really be telling about the Trump administration’s handling of influenza moving forward is how it approaches funding for research on vaccines.
12th Feb 2018 - Vox

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 13th Feb 2018

    View this newsletter in full

With Flu Getting Worse, Klobuchar Calling For More Vaccine Research

In the U.S., the current flu vaccine is reportedly only 10 to 60 percent effective. Senator Amy Klobuchar wants to change that through a bill named the Flu Vaccine Act, which would call for more research on a better vaccine at the National Institute of Health. “Funding research to improve flu vaccinations is critical in keeping our society healthy. We need to get to a point where the viruses have to work to keep up with us,” said Dr. Kevin Nelson
12th Feb 2018 - CBS Minnesota

Congress to introduce Flu Vaccine Act

12th Feb 2018 - KARE

Flu vaccines 50 percent effective

In Hong Kong, flu vaccines have been at least 50 percent effective in the winter flu season, the Centre for Health Protection said. The government will look into the feasibility of ordering flu vaccines from the southern hemisphere amid a citywide shortage. The latest figures collected from private clinics showed that the flu vaccines have been 40 percent effective this season, whereas the effectiveness in preventing influenza-associated hospitalization among children has been over 60 percent.
13th Feb 2018 - Hong Kong Standard

No increased flu shot demand, despite influenza-related deaths

The talk surrounding influenza has gone up after two children died of it recently in Guelph. But according to one public health official, the demand for the flu shot hasn’t increased.
12th Feb 2018 - 570 News

Flu Shots Available at Rite Aid as Severe Flu Season Continues

In the U.S., in response to a flu season that health experts are calling one of the most severe in the past decade, Rite Aid is making sure its pharmacies are stocked with flu shots. The effort comes as the CDC reported on Friday the highest rate of influenza-like illnesses since 2009
12th Feb 2018 - Business Wire

Double-Whammied By Influenza

With H3N2 still raging - and influenza B on the ascendant - during the CDC Flu briefing a question was asked about dual, or co-infection, with both influenza A and Influenza B viruses. A lot of people end up co-infected with a variety of influenza and non-influenza viruses. Luckily, influenza A and B are not known to reassort - nor do influenza and non-influenza viruses - taking at least one bad outcome off the table.
12th Feb 2018 - Afludiary.blogspot.com

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 12th Feb 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Arkansans Donate Blood Amid Shortage Driven by Influenza

Arkansans are stepping up to fill a decline in blood donors due to the rising number of flu cases in the state. Donors helped to supplement the state's blood supply after many people who regularly give blood at churches and schools became ill with influenza and were unable to make donations. Officials say the institute is currently meeting demand but that maintaining an inventory has become a concern.
11th Feb 2018 - U.S. News & World Report

Charity Commission to question Christian megachurch over "flu shot" video

In the UK, the Charity Commission is to question a Christian megachurch over a video that urged people to “inoculate yourself with the word of God” against flu. In a clip that has been viewed nearly a quarter of a million times across Facebook and YouTube, televangelist Gloria Copeland told believers that "we've already had our shot" thanks to God who "bore our sicknesses and carried our diseases"
11th Feb 2018 - The Independent

Health and Human Services secretary holds briefing on flu preparedness, response

In the U.S., Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar held a briefing on preparedness and response efforts for seasonal and pandemic influenza. Secretary Azar discussed his experience overseeing HHS ongoing flu activities and his time working with other public health leaders during his previous time at HHS.
10th Feb 2018 - Homeland Preparedness News

Singer Kay Tse embroiled in flu vaccine controversy

In Hong Kong, as the government scrambles to contain the influenza outbreak, a famous Cantopop singer has found herself at the center of a controversy regarding the effectiveness of the influenza vaccines provided to the public. Kay Tse On-kei was heard telling her friends in a private chat group in a WhatsApp audio recording about her doubts on the effectiveness of the vaccines against the flu outbreak this year
10th Feb 2018 - EJ Insight

Virologist discusses the vagaries of the flu

Harvard Medicine News sat down with virologist Daniel Kuritzkes, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, to talk about what makes the flu virus so elusive. He explains how the biggest game changer on the prevention front would be a universal flu vaccine, an elusive goal that has tantalized scientists for decades. There have been several reports of advances on that front in animals, and a clinical trial in humans is currently under way in the United Kingdom based on research emanating from Oxford University.
10th Feb 2018 - Medical Xpress

Trump, Tell Us About Your Flu Shot

It is now likely that more than 56,000 Americans will die of flu this year. That was the prediction made on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If President Trump can claim credit for the fact that no Americans died in plane crashes in his first year in office, he must also shoulder some blame for this — and the connection to the White House is much easier to draw. Mr. Trump’s disastrous choices for public-health leadership did contribute to the deaths that will occur between now and summer.
10th Feb 2018 - New York Times

Gov. Cuomo orders flu aid for counties

Confirmed cases of the flu in New York state shot up 35 percent last week, prompting Gov. Andrew Cuomo to authorize emergency financial assistance to counties fighting the flu. Cuomo did not say how much financial assistance would be offered to local health departments, but urged them to reach people who haven't yet gotten a flu shot, and to reach out to places like daycare centers, nursing homes, senior centers and homeless shelters where flu can be spread, and work with local school districts that may be seeing higher numbers of flu absences.
10th Feb 2018 - The Daily Gazette

Flu vaccination coverage has been declining in Europe, WHO report reveals

Seasonal flu vaccination coverage among high-risk groups has fallen in Europe, and just one European country reached the recommended goal of 75% coverage in older people, a study has found. The research also found that half of European countries reported a decrease in the number of vaccines available.
9th Feb 2018 - Pharmaceutical Journal

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 9th Feb 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Experts denounce Canto-pop star’s claim of harmful flu jabs as ‘totally wrong’ amid deadly virus outbreak in Hong Kong

A viral message by Canto-pop star Kay Tse On-kei on the flu vaccine containing mutated bacteria and mercury was widely denounced by medical and health experts as well as the Department of Health on Thursday, with Hong Kong’s Medical Association rebutting the rumours as “absolutely absurd”.
8th Feb 2018 - South China Morning Post

9 Flu Myths That Seriously Need to Be Shut Down

This year's flu season has been bleak at first, with more hospitalizations than recent years and a record 53 pediatric deaths, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that suggests the worst may not even be over. To protect yourself and others from contracting the flu, don't just take all the precautions — help stop these common myths about the virus from spreading even further
8th Feb 2018 - Cosmopolitan

Prescriptions for fighting epidemics

Epidemics have plagued humanity since the dawn of settled life. Yet success in conquering them remains patchy. That is because the standard response, in the words of the World Bank’s president Jim Yong Kim, is a cycle of “panic, neglect, panic, neglect”. A front-runner for global pandemics is the seasonal influenza virus, which mutates so much that a vaccine must be custom-made every year. The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, which killed 50m to 100m people, was a potent version of the “swine flu” that emerged in 2009. The H5N1 “avian flu” strain, deadly in 60% of cases, came about in the 1990s when a virus that sickened birds made the jump to a human. Ebola, HIV and Zika took a similar route.
8th Feb 2018 - The Economist

Bacterial Infection From Flu Can Affect the Healthy, Too

Bacterial pneumonia is the most important and serious complications of the flu. Doctors say it can affect, even cause death, in otherwise healthy children and adults. "Years where we see H3N2 as the predominant strain, we typically see more deaths, more hospitalizations that year and this is one of those years, unfortunately," said Dr. Edward Dominguez, infectious disease doctor at Methodist Dallas.
8th Feb 2018 - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

News Scan for Feb 07, 2018

The WHO and South Korean health officials issued public health recommendations for people attending the upcoming winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang. The main threat is an increased risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, and indoor crowding during the two events could increase the risk of the spread of those diseases. The groups noted that the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting an increase in seasonal flu, mainly caused by influenza B and H3N2, an influenza A strain.
8th Feb 2018 - CIDRAP

Low uptake of seasonal influenza vaccination in Europe may jeopardise capacity to protect people in next pandemic

Influenza vaccination coverage among high-risk groups has dropped in the European Region over the last seven years, and half the countries report a decrease in the number of vaccine doses available. These are the results of the first comprehensive overview of seasonal influenza vaccine coverage in the European Region of the World Health Organization between 2008/09 and 2014/15. Low uptake of seasonal influenza vaccination in Europe jeopardises the capacity to protect people during annual epidemics and the next pandemic, the two organisations warn.
8th Feb 2018 - News.am Medicine

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 8th Feb 2018

    View this newsletter in full

How Effective Is the 2018 Flu Shot? Here's What You Should Know

Early findings from Canada indicate a 17 percent effectiveness for the flu shot against H3N2. One reason has to do with the most-common way flu shots are made, with inactivated flu viruses that are grown in chicken eggs. Some pharmaceutical companies are producing flu vaccine virus in mammalian cells to avoid the egg-adaption problem, and to facilitate a faster response in case of a pandemic. Cell-based technology may offer the potential for better protection over traditional, egg-based flu vaccines because it results in vaccine viruses that are more similar to flu viruses in circulation, but there are no data yet to support this.
8th Feb 2018 - Time

Why the Vaccinated Still Caught the Flu This Winter

7th Feb 2018 - Bloomberg

A televangelist's flu-season advice: "Inoculate yourself with the word of God"

At least 53 children across the U.S. have died during a nasty flu outbreak that is already one of the worst on record. But Texas televangelist Gloria Copeland thinks there’s nothing to worry about. In fact, the minister who advised President Trump’s campaign says she doesn’t believe there’s such thing as a flu season. Her remarks come as physicians insist people get their flu shots, as 80 percent of the children who died did not have a flu shot.
7th Feb 2018 - Washington Post

One of Trump’s religious advisors posted a video tirade against flu shots

8th Feb 2018 - Quartz

Trump adviser urges followers to "inoculate yourself with the word of God" against flu

7th Feb 2018 - The Independent

WHO Europe/ECDC joint statement: Low uptake of seasonal influenza vaccination in Europe may jeopardise capacity to protect people in next pandemic

Influenza vaccination coverage among high-risk groups has dropped in the European Region over the last seven years, and half the countries report a decrease in the number of vaccine doses available . These are the results of the first comprehensive overview of seasonal influenza vaccine coverage in the European Region of the WHO between 2008/09 and 2014/15. Low uptake of seasonal influenza vaccination in Europe jeopardizes the capacity to protect people during annual epidemics and the next pandemic, the two organizations warn.
7th Feb 2018 - World Health Organization

Low flu vaccine uptake puts Europe at risk

8th Feb 2018 - Euronews

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 7th Feb 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Trump Evangelical Adviser Says You Don't Need Flu Shots When You Have Jesus

In the U.S., a controversial minister linked to President Donald Trump said flu shots aren’t necessary when you have Jesus. “Inoculate yourself with the word of God,” urged Gloria Copeland, who with her husband co-founded the Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Texas. Both serve on Trump’s evangelical advisory board. While health officials continue to urge people to get flu shots during a season that has been marked by widespread illness, Copeland told followers that faith in Christ is all that’s really needed.
6th Feb 2018 - Huffington Post

"Jesus himself gave us the flu shot" says member of Trump's evangelical advisory board who claims you can "inoculate yourself with the word of God"

7th Feb 2018 - Daily Mail

Trump adviser claims ‘word of God’ will protect us from flu

7th Feb 2018 - New York Post

Top Trump adviser: "You don't need flu shots when you have Jesus"

6th Feb 2018 - International Business Times

Flu outbreaks leave more than 4 million Brits at risk of deadly asthma attacks, charity warns

Catching a cold or the flu could put more than four million Brits at risk of a deadly asthma attack, a charity has warned. A study of more than 7,500 people found more than 80 per cent of people reported the flu made their asthma symptoms worse, according to Asthma UK. And recent figures reveal some 193 people have died of flu-related complications this winter, prompting the charity to urge people with asthma to protect themselves.
6th Feb 2018 - The Sun

Doctors warn about heart attack risks following flu

In the U.S., the emergency room at Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been packed for months now. Now, inside the cardiology wing, doctors are warning about the risks for heart attacks that can follow a bout of the flu. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people are six times more likely to have a heart attack in that week after getting diagnosed with the flu. Cardiologists are also stressing the importance of getting the flu shot.
6th Feb 2018 - WSMV Nashville

Rapid flu tests only 50 to 70 percent accurate, CDC says

In the U.S., the CDC says the quick flu tests are only 50 to 70 percent accurate. They're the most common flu test performed at hospitals and clinics during flu season. Some patients elect for a comprehensive lab test, which takes longer to complete and is more accurate. But even if a rapid test comes back negative, healthcare professionals are trained to treat symptoms.
6th Feb 2018 - CBS News

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 6th Feb 2018

    View this newsletter in full

This winter's awful flu season was made worse by a wildly ineffective vaccine

A number of factors aligned this flu season, including the fact that the vaccine against the main strain of the flu is particularly ineffective. A paper from Canadian scientists published last week suggests that the vaccine is only 17% effective against H3N2, the strain that’s causing 80% of flu infections. Worse, in those aged 20 to 64, it’s only 10% effective. This study, conducted in Canada, isn’t necessarily representative of the entire Northern Hemisphere that’s in the thick of flu season
5th Feb 2018 - Quartz

Influenza vaccine provided dismal protection against this winter"s virus, early data suggest

5th Feb 2018 - Pharmacist.com

How Math (and Vaccines) Keep You Safe From the Flu

Infections are spread in much the same way as a rumor: Someone picks it up and passes it on to someone else. There are differences, of course, but the same elementary mathematical model is useful in both situations. Simple examples involving rumors show how a seemingly small difference in the transmission rate of the rumor made a big difference in how many people ultimately heard it. The same is true when it comes to infectious diseases: the difference between passing the infection on to one person and passing it on to two can be the difference between a few isolated cases and an epidemic.
5th Feb 2018 - Quanta Magazine

Flu risks apply pressure on science for a universal vaccine

Many scientists insist that the only way to stop a future pandemic is by developing a universal flu vaccine. One approach being pursued at Oxford university’s Jenner Institute, is to focus not on the surface proteins but instead on internal proteins common to all influenza A viruses. Another approach, pioneered at the University of California Los Angeles, has been to scrutinise the influenza A genome and find its key genetic weapon for slipping past the body’s defences.
5th Feb 2018 - Financial Times

Prevention and control of influenza in an acute healthcare trusts

Influenza is on the rise in England this winter, with a 78% increase in GP visits from symptomatic patients, a 50% increase in hospitalisations and a 65% increase in admissions to intensive care. This article details a range of infection prevention and control measures deployed at Nottingham University Hospitals.
5th Feb 2018 - Nursing Times

These are the symptoms of Aussie Flu H3N2 strain you need to look out for

In the UK, the flu vaccine is the best protection we have, though flu strains change so it needs to be done every year. The flu jab is offered free to adults at risk, over-65s, pregnant women and children at risk aged six months to two years old, and a spray is offered to children up to four. You can have the jab at your GP and some pharmacies. Serious side effects of the vaccine are rare.
5th Feb 2018 - Bristol Post

World needs all-out effort for truly effective flu vaccine

It’s well past time for an effective flu vaccine. The lack of one has to do with two reasons — the difficulty of targeting an ever-evolving set of viruses, and the structure of profit-based pharmacology. Traditional vaccines like those for measles, mumps and rubella, or yellow fever work very well. They are over 97 percent effective. The worst thing about them for pharmaceutical manufacturers is that they work well for many, many years. There isn’t much profit in a drug people take once or twice. As a result, there’s little commercial incentive to invent a flu vaccine that works well against every possible strain of the disease.
4th Feb 2018 - Newsday

Flu scourge means even those who have been vaccinated already still may not be safe

In the first phase of the influenza epidemic, which began in November and December, the initial two type A flu strains were covered in the vaccines provided by the Ministry of Health and distributed to the Regions. Then two type B strains took over with greater incidence, but the Yamagata B strain was not among the vaccines. Or rather, only in one part. "The forecasts for what vaccines were needed belong to the ministry, not to the healthcare companies," according to Dr. Lorena Gottardello, epidemiologist at USS 6 Euganea.
4th Feb 2018 - Nuova Venezia

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 5th Feb 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Can You Get the Flu Twice in One Season?

Experts say it is possible to catch the flu twice in one season. That's because there are multiple strains of flu viruses circulating at any one time, said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious-disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. So getting sick with one strain of flu won't necessarily protect you from a different strain. If you do catch the flu, and you haven't received the flu vaccine for the season, doctors generally recommend that you still get a flu shot after you're no longer sick, particularly if it's early on in the flu season, Schaffner said.
2nd Feb 2018 - Live Science

The flu vaccine is only 10 percent effective this year. Blame eggs.

The first data on how well the flu vaccine is working this season in North America has just been published: the study, from the journal Eurosurveillance, found that the flu vaccine was only 10 percent effective against H3N2 among adults aged 20 to 64 years old in Canada. There are a couple of reasons why it’s harder to vaccinate against H3N2. For one, the virus mutates as it moves through the population at a faster rate than other flu viruses — making it even harder to design a shot that matches the circulating virus. One other reason the flu vaccine tends to underperform in H3N2 years has to do with the fact it is made with eggs
2nd Feb 2018 - Vox

Effectiveness of flu shot under 20 per cent for dominant strain this season: experts

3rd Feb 2018 - Medicine Hat News

Flu shot effectiveness below 20 per cent for dominant strain this season

3rd Feb 2018 - Toronto Star

The flu vaccine is only 10 percent effective this year

2nd Feb 2018 - WXYZ

White Coat, Black Art

1st Feb 2018 - CBC.ca

Flu shot effectiveness below 20 per cent for dominant strain this season

1st Feb 2018 - Toronto Star

FDA Issues Statement on Ongoing Efforts to Mitigate Impact of Saline Shortages During Flu Season

U.S. FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, has issued the following statement on ongoing efforts to mitigate impact of saline shortages during this flu season: "As flu activity remains widespread across the U.S., the FDA continues to monitor this situation closely and in coordination with our colleagues at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We’re continuing to take steps to help ensure that people with the flu have access to critical medical products, including antivirals, saline and other supportive care drugs and devices."
2nd Feb 2018 - Infection Control Today

FDA Tries New Strategies as IV Bag Shortage Continues

3rd Feb 2018 - Medscape

"Wash your stinking hands!": ER nurse rants about "cesspool of funky flu"

A Florida nurse working to combat “a cesspool of funky flu” in the emergency room has gained widespread attention from a viral video on social media urging people to take precautions to avoid influenza. After a 12-hour night shift in an emergency room in northwest Florida, Katherine Lockler, a registered nurse, offered some expert medical advice. Since Lockler's video, an online petition is urging support for “ER nurses and staff and the spreading of education during this horrible flu season.”
2nd Feb 2018 - Washington Post

Florida nurse posts epic rant on terrible flu season: "Wash your stinking hands"

2nd Feb 2018 - USA Today

Florida nurse's choice words to avoid flu: 'Wash your stinking hands'

3rd Feb 2018 - Reuters

Florida nurse's rant about "funky flu" season goes viral

3rd Feb 2018 - Globalnews.ca

Flu expert presses for bigger HA cash boost

Hong Kong University flu expert Yuen Kwok-yung has called on the government to set up a HK$50 billion fund to help the Hospital Authority improve operational efficiency. Yuen also hopes a flu vaccine that can be sprayed into nostrils could be further developed locally. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced last week an additional HK$500 million to help the HA combat the manpower shortage in this winter flu season.
5th Feb 2018 - The Standard

Hong Kong’s first nasal spray flu vaccine should be trialled in mainland China to speed up process, top HKU microbiologist says

Hong Kong’s first locally developed nasal spray flu vaccine could be made available in three years by conducting clinical trials in mainland China and seeking approval from the national drug authority instead of waiting for endorsement from local officials, according to the city’s top microbiologist. University of Hong Kong professor Yuen Kwok-yung said he hoped the spray would be in use before his retirement at the end of 2021, to help increase vaccination rates in the city.
4th Feb 2018 - South China Morning Post

Minnesota vaccination activists now are seeking political allies

At a forum for state legislators, leaders of the Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota hope to persuade lawmakers to support an “informed consent” bill, which would require doctors to discuss risks with parents before vaccinating babies. Jennifer Larson, a leader of the nonprofit council and an organization called Healthchoice, said her group is not anti-vaccine; they believe consumers just need more upfront information about risks. But state health officials worry that opponents want to promote unproven claims that could unnecessarily scare people away from vaccinations.
3rd Feb 2018 - Minneapolis Star Tribune

As Flu Spreads, Sales of Remedies Go Viral

In the U.S., the flu, nasty as it is, has been something of a windfall for marketers peddling cleaning products, vaccines and over-the-counter medications. With reports of many pharmacies running out of the flu vaccine, Walgreens said some locations may not be offering all types of flu vaccine "due to recent increases in flu activity and heightened demand for flu shots." But the chain says it still offers flu shots daily at most pharmacies and the company's Healthcare Clinics. Walgreens only reports the number of flu vaccines administered annually, and couldn't break out how many flu vaccines it has administered so far this flu season versus last year.
3rd Feb 2018 - AdAge.com

'Australian flu': It's not from Australia

H3N2 is the flu virus making most people sick, Dr Anthony Fauci of NIAID says; it was also the dominant strain in the Australian season and the reason why many people refer to "Australian flu." Though the strain did not originate in Australia -- one study suggests that it emerged in or near Hong Kong -- it quickly became dominant during the Australian flu season of 2017 and has gone on to dominate the world's infections. This article recaps the various situations with regard to the flu around the world this year
3rd Feb 2018 - CNN

Sen. Markey Calls On Congress To Spend $1B For Universal Flu Vaccine

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) visited Massachusetts General Hospital on Friday to call on Congress to invest $1 billion over five years for researchers to create a new universal flu vaccine. Markey said he will introduce the Flu Vaccine Bill next week.
2nd Feb 2018 - CBS Boston / WBZ

The nasty flu season could cost U.S. businesses $15B in lost productivity

This year in the U.S., as an aggressive flu strain, H3N2, goes around and with the flu season yet to peak, employers and workers face a difficult dilemma: What do you do when folks just don't feel well? This is such a big challenge that Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a prominent employment consulting firm, on Friday raised its earlier estimates by 64% estimating that the flu virus could cause more than 18 million U.S. employees to miss at least four, eight-hour shifts. At an average hourly wage of $26.63, the firm said that represents at least $15.4 billion in lost productivity nationwide. That's considerably higher than in 2014, when the consulting firm estimated total U.S. productivity losses due to illness at $7 billion.
2nd Feb 2018 - USA Today

Study: "Anti-vaxxers" often believe other conspiracy theories

A survey of more than 5,300 people in 24 countries on five continents found that people who believe in conspiracy theories are more likely to believe that vaccines aren't safe, despite scientific evidence to the contrary. The study findings were published Feb. 1 in the journal Health Psychology. People with anti-vaccination attitudes also were found to be intolerant of limits on their freedom, and uneasy about blood and needles. They also were described as having an individualistic worldview.
2nd Feb 2018 - UPI.com

The Flu Has Killed 53 Children So Far, But the Scientists Who Study It Are Short on Funds

Funding for flu research is notoriously paltry. Even though the virus kills tens of thousands of Americans each year, neither Congress nor Big Pharma see it as a priority. “You have a major funding deficit at the federal level, which is really dangerous,” says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. The U.S. administration has sent mixed signals about its stance on flu research. While its proposed budget did include modest funding, Trump himself has expressed skepticism about the flu vaccine.
2nd Feb 2018 - Mother Jones

Influenza Vaccination is Global But Not the Same

Spurred by vaccine shortages in 2004-5, WHO has provided a global overview of the industry's influenza efforts. The 16 manufacturers of influenza vaccine have increased capacity from 1.5 billion doses in 2006 to 6.4 billion this year. They re-formulate and manufacture those 6 billion new influenza doses with only a six-month head start. It is an impressive feat of biologic manufacture, something for which Big Pharma gets little credit. Vaccination programs are more complex than the lay public appreciates, influenced by characteristics of the influenza virus as well as our infrastructure and political will. In the U.S., many of these issues have been addressed, yet our vaccination rate is only 38%. Big Pharma has stepped up to increase production; now we need to concentrate on improving global demand.
2nd Feb 2018 - American Council on Science & Health

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 2nd Feb 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Effectiveness of flu shot under 20 per cent for dominant strain, experts say

Researchers say the effectiveness of this season's flu shot has been low, with the vaccine preventing only 10 to 20 per cent of infections caused by the dominant H3N2 strain affecting Canadians. Lead researcher Danuta Skowronski of the BC Centre for Disease Control says that's in line with what Australia experienced during the southern hemisphere's flu season, which ended in late August as Canada's was about to begin.
1st Feb 2018 - The Globe and Mail

2018 Flu update: Flu shot effectiveness is lower than originally thought, new study shows

1st Feb 2018 - Cleveland.com

Flu vaccine only 10-20% effective mid-season

1st Feb 2018 - La Presse

This year's flu shot preventing fewer than 20% of H3N2 infections: experts

1st Feb 2018 - CTV News

Flu vaccine provided dismal protection against this winter’s virus, early data suggest

1st Feb 2018 - Stat News

Canadian data show low flu vaccine protection against H3N2

1st Feb 2018 - CIDRAP

CDC Chooses United Way to Participate in National Flu Pandemic Response System

United Way of Westchester and Putnam has been chosen by the Centers for Disease Control as one of 27 call centers across the nation to participate in Flu on Call, a public health emergency response system in the event of a national flu pandemic. Flu on Call is a national network of triage lines, staffed by trained information specialists and medical professionals, designed to be used during a severe pandemic.
1st Feb 2018 - Hudson Valley News Network

Influenza 2018 - experts expect the worst flu epidemic in years

"In Germany, there are already 11,000 reported flu cases, the number of unreported cases is probably ten times higher," says general practitioner Dr. Markus Frühwein.Why will the flu season hit us particularly hard this year? According to the Robert Koch Institute, 72 percent of reported flu cases have been caused by influenza B viruses, usually its the influenza A strain, although the type of virus is not as aggressive as the virus currently circulating in the US, nevertheless, doctors are also expecting many influenza patients in Germany in the coming weeks - significantly more than during a normal flu season.
1st Feb 2018 - RTL Online

Liverpool hospital best in the country for flu vaccinations

In the UK, Aintree University Hospital has protected more frontline staff against the flu than any other hospital in the country this winter. According to the latest figures from Public Health England, Aintree has vaccinated more staff than any other NHS organisation, with 86.9% of patient-facing staff receiving their flu jab at work
1st Feb 2018 - Click Liverpool

More potent flu vaccine "would have cost double"

In Ireland, the health service would need to more than double its spending on flu vaccines to protect against a virus strain responsible for most cases so far this season. Simon Harris, the health minister, said he had been advised by the HSE that the cost of providing a quadrivalent vaccine, which protects against four strains of flu, would be €9 million. This compared with between €3 million and €4 million for a trivalent vaccine to protect against three strains.
1st Feb 2018 - The Times

Why We're Still So Unprepared for Flu and Other Crises

We remain unprepared for the next pandemic flu, though experts warn it’s only a matter of time before a new strain capable of killing millions will emerge. As epidemiologist Michael Osterholm and writer Mark Olshaker wrote recently, we aren’t even prepared for this year’s seasonal flu. The outbreak has killed 37 children as of late January, according to the CDC. Osterholm and Olshaker wrote that much more money must go into the development of a so-called universal flu vaccine
1st Feb 2018 - Bloomberg

WHO due to issue recommendations for next flu season

The World Health Organization is expected to issue a recommendation on the influenza virus vaccines for use in 2018-2019 in Ireland, and other northern hemisphere countries, in a month’s time. Experts from collaborating centres for influenza, regulatory and reference laboratories — plus experts on animal influenza — are due to meet at the WHO in Geneva from February 19-21, 2018 to decide on the composition of the influenza virus vaccines for use in the 2018/19 influenza season for northern hemisphere countries.
1st Feb 2018 - MIMS Ireland

FDA's Gottlieb Issues Statement On Efforts To Mitigate Impact Of Saline Shortages During Flu Season

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has issued a statement on the ongoing efforts to mitigate the impact of saline shortages during the flu season
1st Feb 2018 - Reuters

Should all teachers receive the "flu" vaccination for free?

With the number of cases of influenza in the UK this winter, it should be everyone’s priority to get the flu vaccination. However with the fairly high price of ten pounds per vaccine, this may be impossible for some. For the very young, very old and those with medical conditions, this injection is free. But others, such as teachers, should also receive the flu vaccine for free
31st Jan 2018 - Richmond and Twickenham Times

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 1st Feb 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Got the flu? Stay home! Get better. It's costing us billions

In the U.S., the flu has taken a toll on schools, nursing homes and health-care facilities. But, it also is costing businesses billions of dollars. This year, as an aggressive flu strain, H3N2, goes around and with the flu season yet to peak, employers — and employees — are facing a difficult dilemma: What do you do when folks just don't feel well? Employees who work when they are sick only exacerbate the problem. Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates the flu virus will cause a million adults to miss at least four, eight-hour shifts this year. At an average hourly wage of $26.63, the firm said that works out to about $9.4 billion in lost productivity nationwide.
31st Jan 2018 - USA Today

Anti-vax site spreads vile viral story claiming flu shots "caused this year's deadly outbreak"

An anti-vaccine conspiracy site has spread a highly dangerous fake news story claiming that the flu vaccine actually caused this year’s deadly epidemic. The fake story, from YourNewsWire, has become one of the most-engaged stories on Facebook of the last two weeks. The completely false story quotes a non-existent doctor who says, ‘We have seen people dying across the country of the flu, and one thing nearly all of them have in common is they got the flu shot.
31st Jan 2018 - Metro

Amid Tamiflu shortage, Florida Hospital offers free flu shots in Tampa

Florida Hospital Centra Care is offering free flu shots in hopes more people will be vaccinated. With the flu at epidemic levels this season and a shortage of antiviral medications used to treat the flu, the hospital encourages those who are able to have the vaccine to get one. Centra Care doctors are also working to dispel myths that this year's vaccine is not effective. They say the shot they administer is quadrivalent, meaning it protects against four different strains of flu.
31st Jan 2018 - FOX 13 News,

Connection between Super Bowl and flu deaths

The Super Bowl may make the flu season even worse for North Carolina. Researchers at Cornell University have studied the correlation between the flu and the big game, and they’ve found a traceable connection. “We find about an 18% increase in mortality for those 65 and older in cities that are sending to the super bowl,” Assistant Professor Nicholas Sanders said.
31st Jan 2018 - WCNC

PSNC urges NHS England to digitise flu vaccination payments

The PSNC has said it is trying to persuade NHS England to digitise flu vaccination payments to contractors amid concerns that the claiming process is time-consuming and could result in non-payment. Some contractors submitted claims after March 31 last year for payment for vaccinations provided during the 2016-17 flu season which pharmacy’s negotiator said was ill-advised given the amount of time it can take to process a claim.
31st Jan 2018 - Pharmacy Business

With High Flu Numbers, Walmart Offers Vaccination

With Arkansas and the nation only halfway through a dangerous and widespread influenza season, Walmart is reminding residents in the natural state that it's not too late to get their flu shot at their local Walmart. Doing so can help local residents avoid catching the flu or lessen the effects if you do become sick, according to health experts.
31st Jan 2018 - KNWA

The influenza epidemic in the Tyrol has reached its peak

"We are experiencing the peak of the flu epidemic. The number of patients is at approximately the same level as last year," according to Anita Luckner-Hornischer of the Landessanitatsdirektion. About 50 to 60 percent of all influenza illnesses this year were caused by the influenza A virus, followed by influenza B, she said
31st Jan 2018 - Tiroler Tageszeitung Online

New study shows flu affects the heart

Bassam Baroudi, a cardiologist with Memorial Hospital, explains that there are complications that can develop as a result of the flu and it could affect our heart. Patients with heart disease are at higher risks of heart attacks and heart failures if they are exposed to the flu. Baroudi says there is now ample evidence of the benefit of the flu vaccine. “A recent study in 2017 showed that the flu vaccine can actually reduce your mortality, can reduce the admission to the hospital, and if you’re admitted, can reduce the period you stay in the hospital and if you get to ICU, reduce the ICU state.”
31st Jan 2018 - STLToday.com

Connected Thermometer Tracks the Spread and Intensity of the Flu

Kinsa thermometers connect via Bluetooth to a smartphone app, which pose questions about a person’s symptoms. With its thermometers in 500,000 households, Kinsa receives 25,000 temperature readings per day. The company can’t diagnose illnesses or distinguish between different kinds of sicknesses. But from gathering information about individuals’ fevers and other symptoms, it can report where flu-like symptoms are peaking. The company says its data is a close match to flu data tracked by the U.S.CDC
31st Jan 2018 - Voice of America

How to spot flu symptoms

Those who are at higher risk for developing flu-related complications should take extra precautions when they feel symptoms coming on. The CDC says these include children under 5 years old, particularly those under 2. Also at high risk are adults 65 and older, pregnant women, residents of long-term care facilities and people with medical conditions including weakened immune systems, asthma, heart disease and diabetes. "For all patients, first and foremost, you should call your health care provider, because you may be able to get (the antiviral medication) Tamiflu, and the earlier you get Tamiflu, the more likely your symptoms will go away faster," Dr Rachel Lee said.
31st Jan 2018 - CNN

Aussie flu "could last until March" - these are the symptoms and how to get rid of it

Aussie flu is one of of the main strains of the flu virus infecting people across the UK this year. Symptoms have been described as the same as normal flu but more severe. A doctor has revealed the outbreak could last until March. Dr Jarvis still recommends people get the flu jab.
31st Jan 2018 - Express.co.uk

Super Bowl stadium doing everything to fight the flu and germs as one million are set to attend

Super Bowl coordinators are taking extra precaution to prevent the spread of the deadly flu leading up to the big game. Event organizers are disinfecting the Super Bowl Experience exhibit multiple times a day and urging fans to get their flu shots before coming to the stadium. With about a million people visiting US Bank Stadium in Minnesota this week, the opportunity for the virus to spread is at an all-time high.
31st Jan 2018 - Daily Mail

Minister accused of delaying proceedings allegedly linked to swine flu vaccine

In Ireland, the Minister for Health’s “intransigence” in discovering documents is delaying efforts to get on with the first of a number of cases alleging a sleep disorder was a result of the swine flu vaccine, the High Court heard. Ms Bennett’s case is among a number of similar cases being brought against the Minister, the HSE, Glaxosmithkline, which produced the vaccine, and the Health Products Regulatory Authority.
31st Jan 2018 - The Irish Times

U.S. public health chief quits over financial conflicts

The head of the U.S. CDC has resigned because of financial conflicts of interest that included purchases of tobacco and healthcare stocks while in office. Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC principal deputy director with 30 years at the agency, will take over until a new director is named. Flu experts cheered the return of Schuchat, who played a leading role in the U.S. response to the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic. “I don’t have the ear of the president, but if I did, I would say two words: Anne Schuchat,” said Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, who would like to see Schuchat as the next CDC director. “She would have the immediate confidence of all of us in the infectious disease and public health community.”
31st Jan 2018 - Reuters

Georgia doctors are running low on rapid flu tests

Some Georgia doctors say they are running out of rapid flu tests because of this terrible flu season. The rapid response flu test involves swabbing the back of the nose or throat to check for influenza DNA. It gives the doctor results in a matter of minutes. The FDA removed two rapid flu test brands, Osom and QuickVue, from the market over false/positives, making the shortage even worse.
30th Jan 2018 - WSB Radio

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 31st Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Adenovirus looks like flu, acts like flu, but it's not influenza

Adenovirus can cause very severe flu-like symptoms. An outbreak of adenovirus killed 10 people in 2007. Adrianan Kajon, an infectious disease specialist at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, and her team tested college students at one campus during the severe 2014-15 influenza epidemic and found 13 out of 168 students who came in for flu treatment had adenovirus infections.
30th Jan 2018 - NBC News.com

Vanderbilt doctor: Virus mimics influenza to make people sick

30th Jan 2018 - WSMV Nashville

Flu vaccines becoming scarce in Richmond County

In Richmond County, North Carolina, flu vaccines are running low. Dr. Tommy Jarrell said the Richmond County Health Department still had about 50 doses — intended for anyone older than 36 months. The department stocked no high-dose vaccines this year, he said; it did so last year and had no demand. State health officials reported last week that 67 North Carolinans had died from the flu this season, including more than 20 the previous week.
30th Jan 2018 - Richmond County Daily Journal

The Imperfect Science of Mapping the Flu

The CDC bases its “Flu View” reports and predictions on physician records that report “influenza-like illnesses” among patients. That means there’s about a six-day gap between the ground truth and the CDC’s best understanding of it, according to Jeffrey Shaman, a professor of environmental health sciences and the director of Columbia University’s Climate and Health Program. Using an algorithm similar to those used in weather prediction, Shaman and his lab publish weekly flu forecasts for 50 states, 10 CDC regions, and 108 cities nationwide, predicting how and when cases will rise and fall.
30th Jan 2018 - City Lab

Pharmacists vaccinated 152,000 people against the flu, nurses ask for more vaccination opportunities

In France, pharmacists in two regions have been allowed to vaccinate against the flu, and it looks to have been a successful trial as 152,000 vaccines were given through the scheme. The Health Minister is interested in expanding the trial, and nurses are asking to be allowed to vaccinate more categories of patients
30th Jan 2018 - Caducee.net

Update on the 2018 flu season

Even though there definitely is a flu epidemic in Quebec, the situation is not alarming. However, not enough people were immunised against the virus (58% of the over 65s and only 35% of the 6-23 months old babies). The effectiveness of this season's flu vaccine should be revealed in February, but many are saying a universal flu vaccine would be the best solution
30th Jan 2018 - Metro Montreal

Make This Year's Flu a Cure for Complacency

In the U.S., this year's flu epidemic arrived early, spread widely, and brought extraordinary suffering expected to continue for months. The question is whether it will be enough to jolt the medical world and its funders from their complacency about influenza's persistent power. Much more investment is needed to get hospitals better prepared for future outbreaks, and to improve seasonal flu shots and treatments. Also lacking is a lasting, universal vaccine. Better efforts are also needed to raise the vaccination rate in the U.S. above 50 percent
30th Jan 2018 - Bloomberg

Could the current flu epidemic escalate into a devastating 1918 'Spanish Flu' pandemic?

This year's flu season is shaping up to be among the worst in recent years. Already, 37 children have died from influenza-related symptoms. Researchers who study influenza viruses and their evolution do think that it's realistic to envision outbreaks of new flu viruses that are more deadly than anything circulating through humanity now. Predicting future evolution of influenza, in context of what happened in 1918 may help to prepare us for managing new flu strains.
30th Jan 2018 - Genetic Literacy Project

A Demanding Flu Season Tightens Squeeze On IV Bag Supplies

Along with most of the United States, Wisconsin is seeing a high level of seasonal flu activity, thanks in part to a type of influenza virus that's tough to vaccinate against and can be particularly hard on the elderly and small children. The subtype, called H3N2, is proving particularly good at putting people in the hospital. The spike in flu cases comes as healthcare providers continue to deal with a shortage of one of their most common and crucial tools: pre-filled IV bags practitioners use for everything from hydrating patients to administering carefully measured medications.
30th Jan 2018 - wiscontext.org

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 30th Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Why are people so vulnerable to this year's flu epidemic?

While it’s nothing out of the ordinary for the common cold to spread far and wide, during the past few months the flu epidemic has reached new levels of severity. Professor John Oxford PhD, scientific director of Oxford Media Medicine, believes a superior treatment for the flu may become available in the near future. “An important discovery from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute was identification of a human gene called IFITM3 which can control the degree of illness or even death in people infected with flu,” he said. “That could allow doctors to give enhanced treatment quickly to people who have been hospitalised"
29th Jan 2018 - The Independent

Maryland clinics offer free flu shots to children after more than 30 deaths this year

In Maryland, the Frederick County Health Department is offering free flu shots for children between the ages of 6 months and 17 years and the Charles County Department of Health is offering free flu shots for all ages, after officials say more than 30 children have died from the flu this year.
29th Jan 2018 - WJLA

Government orders 40,000 doses of flu vaccine after high demand at weekend

To respond to the high demand for flu vaccines, registered over the weekend, the Health Services ordered 40,000 doses which is expected to arrive within two days. From Thursday and until yesterday, around 10 thousand doses were distributed. In order to manage the 5,000 vaccinations that still remain, this morning a vaccine marking mechanism programme will be implemented.
29th Jan 2018 - Ponto Final

As flu worsens, Cuomo executive order lets pharmacists give shots to children

The continuing increase in flu cases in New York state has healthcare officials reminding residents that there is still time to get a flu vaccination and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declaring a state disaster emergency and issuing an executive order intended to increase access and convenience to residents seeking a flu shot. The executive order will allow pharmacists to administer flu vaccines to minors between the ages of 2 and 18 years old, and allow non-patient specific orders to allow pharmacists to administer the vaccines.
29th Jan 2018 - The Livingston County News

Why the Flu Kills Young, Otherwise Healthy People

As one of the worst flu seasons in years continues to sicken people across the U.S., one of its most striking aspects are the untimely deaths it’s caused: A 21-year-old bodybuilder; a 12-year-old boy; a 40-year-old marathoner. Infants, the elderly, and immunocompromised people are always at higher risk of dying from the flu, but how exactly does the flu kill an otherwise healthy person? “The truth is, there’s still quite a bit of science that isn’t clear, but in general, when we talk about deaths related to influenza, there’s a couple of main mechanisms,” Dr. Daniel Eiras, an infectious disease and immunology expert at New York University, explained
29th Jan 2018 - Gizmodo

North, South Korea Hit by Flu Outbreaks Ahead of Olympics

North and South Korea are reporting outbreaks of different strains of influenza, less than two weeks before thousands of visitors from around the world arrive for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in the South. North Korea’s Ministry of Public Health reported over 80,000 confirmed cases of H1N1 between December 1, 2017 and January 16, 2018. This weekend a highly pathogenic strain of H5N6 avian influenza was also found on a chicken farm in South Korea near Seoul.
29th Jan 2018 - Voice of America

CDC Expected To Respond To Schumer's Request To Send Flu Team To NY

In the U.S., the CDC is expected to respond to Sen. Charles Schumer’s request to send a flu surveillance team to New York. The number of New Yorkers hospitalized for the flu now tops 7,100 statewide. Schumer wants the team to help local and state health officials by studying the spread of the illness.
29th Jan 2018 - CBS New York

New York Needs Feds' Help To Slow Flu Outbreak, Schumer Says

29th Jan 2018 - Patch.com

Schumer urges CDC to help tackle growing flu epidemic

28th Jan 2018 - New York Post

Sen. Charles Schumer Demands Feds Send Special Flu Team to NY

28th Jan 2018 - NBC New York

Healthcare Leaders Discover The Contagious Power Of Story To Fight The Flu

Flu vaccination rates in the U.S. have barely budged over the years. According to Glen Nowak, a former director for the CDC’s national immunization program and now a professor of health and risk communication at the University of Georgia, a person’s motivation to get a flu shot is contingent up their direct and indirect life experiences. If people don’t think they need a vaccine, it’s difficult to change their “mental models” overnight. “That's why narratives and personal stories become really important,” Nowak stresses. “You need to serve up examples of people like themselves who were not vaccinated and suffered severe consequences from the flu.”
29th Jan 2018 - Forbes

Flu vaccine coverage in general practice on the increase for most patient groups

Figures from Public Health England show increased flu vaccine uptake in most patient groups in general practice compared to the last flu season. Data covering September to December 2017 has shown a 71.2% vaccine uptake in the over-65s, an increase of just under one percentage point from the previous flu season. The data also showed: 45.4% coverage in pregnant women (0.4% increase compared with the previous year); 40.4% coverage in two year olds (1.5% increase compared with the previous year); 41.5% coverage in three year olds (no increase compared with the previous year)
29th Jan 2018 - Pulse Today

'Fox And Friends' Host Goes Anti-Vaxxer Amid Deadly Flu Epidemic

In the U.S., “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade is spreading misinformation about vaccines as this year’s particularly deadly flu epidemic spreads across the country. Dr. Marc Siegel, a practicing internist and Fox News contributor, joined Monday’s show to explain why this flu season is especially dangerous, and to encourage viewers to get flu shots. But Kilmeade dismissed the medical professional’s advice, instead echoing a debunked talking point of conspiracy theorists known as anti-vaxxers.
29th Jan 2018 - Huffington Post

CDC sets the record straight regarding the flu vaccine

In the U.S., the CDC cleared the air about the flu vaccine. On-line reports have been flooding Facebook and Twitter claiming the flu shot is not safe. "The bottom line about the flu vaccine is that we know from many years of experience that it is a safe vaccine to give," says the CDC's Kristen Nordlund.
29th Jan 2018 - wsbradio.com

Ecuador invests USD 10 million in vaccines against influenza

Ecuador has invested US$10m to acquire 3.9 million vaccine doses to combat influenza which, since last November, has affected 497 people, of whom 23 died. On January 24, 2018, the vice minister of governance and Public Health surveillance, Carlos Duran, explained they have already implemented close to one million doses to combat the disease in a campaign throughout Ecuador, with special emphasis in the province of Pichincha , with Quito as its capital and where there has been 80% of all the recorded cases of influenza. Based on a report from 19 November until 20 January, the deputy minister said that of the 497 cases, 441 correspond to H1N1 influenza , 49 to AH3N2 and 7 to type B influenza .
25th Jan 2018 - El Comercio

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 29th Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

This wouldn't hurt a bit

In Ireland, an ad urges over-65s and other vulnerable groups to get the flu vaccine. The HSE itself is not immunised, however. The latest statistics, up to the end of November, reveal that only 38% of almost 65,000 workers in 48 hospitals had received the vaccine. Among nursing staff, the rate was only 32%. This raises questions: why are healthcare workers not getting the vaccine? Are they putting patients at risk? And should Ireland follow the example of some US states, where flu vaccination for healthcare workers is now compulsory?
28th Jan 2018 - The Times

How the flu season turned deadly – are NHS vaccine failures to blame?

In the UK, the NHS is enduring criticism for deciding against a flu vaccine containing both common B variants of the virus, and certainly fewer infections would be occurring had the more complex (and more expensive) vaccine been used. But affordability is crucial. Global health authorities were condemned for the expensive overreaction to the 2009 swine flu outbreak, which proved to be unexpectedly mild.
28th Jan 2018 - New Statesman

Doctor reveals struggle against flu with cheap vaccine as outbreak cripples NHS

In the UK, the flu has claimed 155 lives since October as thousands are admitted to hospitals across Britain. To deal with the outbreak, doctors were equipped with both quadrivalent and trivalent vaccines. However, Dr Dinesh Silva believes GPs often opted to treat adults with the trivalent jab – which does not protect against the B strain and costs about £2 less.
28th Jan 2018 - Daily Star

How do doctors stay healthy during the winter?

We talked to family doctor Anke Richter from Bad Oeynhausen, the chairman of the family doctors' association Westfalen-Lippe, and the pediatrician Herrmann Josef Kahl from Dusseldorf. Up to 180 patients per day attend the practice of Anke Richter. She said "We also get ill with these waves of viral infection, but usually it only occurs at the end. I think that's because we just cannot afford to get sick during the illness outbreak, so psychologically we block it. Only when the biggest rush is over do we get sick. That's when we ususally see any infection break out. I suppose a bit like with people with stressful jobs, who then get sick on the first days of their vacation."
27th Jan 2018 - Der Spiegel

This year's flu season is worse than usual for baby boomers

In the U.S., people ages 50 to 64 are particularly badly affected by this year's flu, the CDC told reporters Friday. That could be because of the strains in circulation. While the predominant strain is the nasty H3N2, which is less well-protected by the flu vaccine, H1N1 is also sending baby boomers to the hospital. One possible reason why, according to the CDC's Dr. Dan Jernigan: a phenomenon called imprinting.
26th Jan 2018 - CNBC

A Life-Threatening Piece Of Actual Fake News Has Gone Viral On Facebook. Please Stop Sharing It

Actual fake news has been going viral on Facebook. The article in question quotes made-up medical professionals from the CDC, warns people against taking actions that could save their own lives, and could lead to real people getting ill unnecessarily, or even dying. The piece, from yournewswire, claims that the flu shot causes flu outbreaks and that many people are dying as a result.
26th Jan 2018 - IFLScience

A third of GPs are running out of the flu vaccine as the UK faces the worst flu outbreak in seven years

A third of GPs across the UK have run out of the flu vaccine as the country faces its worst outbreak in seven years, new research suggests. And some are having to borrow vaccines from other practices to keep up with patient demand, a survey from Pulse magazine found. One practice told the publication that they had used 100 more jabs than last year and another confirmed they had used 95 per cent of their stocks.
26th Jan 2018 - The Sun

A world without flu? It's possible

The current method of developing seasonal flu shots is little more than guesswork. Scientists do the best they can to predict the strain that will be circulating the following year. Even at their most effective, these short-term vaccines rarely confer half the population with protection from infection. We can do better. It may sound like fantasy, but universal vaccines are well within the realm of possibility.
26th Jan 2018 - Los Angeles Times

Influenza: 152,000 vaccinations were carried out by pharmacists this year

In France, some pharmacists were trained to administer the flu vaccine this winter, in only two regions, as a trial. More than 152,000 flu shots were given this way and is so far deemed a success that might be extended to other regions or more patient categories. Nurses are now asking to be allowed to vaccinate more people against the flu
26th Jan 2018 - France Info

Oscar Season Caught in Crosshairs of Deadly Flu Season

As always, flu season descends on Hollywood just as awards season shifts into high gear. However, this year's flare-up has been deemed the worst in a decade, with the CDC classifying the outbreak as an epidemic. The Los Angeles Times recently confirmed that California's death rates have spiked, with health officials reporting 74 people under age 65 dead from the flu since October, compared to 14 during the 2016-17 season. "It's really bad," says Beverly Hills internist Gary Cohan. "H3N2 came early and came hard, and the vaccine isn't adequate. That's what's causing all the problems."
26th Jan 2018 - Hollywood Reporter

Flu outbreak: Virus strains different than expected; Vaccine essential to limit number of deaths

In recent weeks there has been an increase in mortality in the over 65s, especially in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Scotland. One of the main causes is influenza. Prof. Massimo Galli explains that there isn't enough coverage for the flu shot (75% is recommended by the WHO). The other issue is the way the flu vaccine is produced and the fact that scientists have to guess which strains will be prevalent
25th Jan 2018 - Agenpress

How dangerous can the flu really be?

Particularly at risk are people over the age of 65 - they account for 90 percent of deaths. Additional risk groups include pregnant women, those who have recently given birth, preterm and chronically ill patients. Vaccination is also recommended for people who are privately and professionally involved with one of these at risk groups, or with infants under the age of six months for whom the immune system is (still) inadequate. "Vaccination is a matter of communal solidarity," the BAG said. Already weakened people should not be unnecessarily endangered, so get covered
25th Jan 2018 - Beobachter

The seasonal flu outbreak is on the decline

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) on Wednesday said there were 303 flu cases per 100 000 inhabitants in Switzerland. For the first time since its recent outbreak last October, the trend for more influenza cases each week in Switzerland has declined. Daniel Koch, the head of the Department of Communicable Diseases at the FOPH, said that a week earlier, the number of influenza cases, the so-called weekly incidence, stood at 365. Koch expects that case numbers will continue to fall and flu activity will fall below the epidemic threshold by the end of February. The epidemic value, recalculated each year, is based on the average flu activity over the last decade, which is currently 68 flu cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Switzerland crossed this threshold in the week before Christmas.
25th Jan 2018 - Neue Zürcher Zeitung

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 26th Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Better flu vaccine needed, but don't shy away from the shot

Even though the flu vaccine is imperfect, it’s still important to get a flu shot. The CDC estimates that flu vaccination prevented 40,000 deaths nationwide between 2005 and 2014. And if you do get the flu, a flu shot can curtail its severity. “What makes me most concerned is that people are shying away from the vaccine,” Dr. Jenifer L. Jaeger, interim medical director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said
26th Jan 2018 - The Boston Globe

Vaccines can't kill Yamagata swine flu strain

The WHO has urged nations to take steps to shore up case management, compliance with infection control measures, and vaccination of high-risk groups against the flu. The WHO report said "though flu vaccines might not provide full protection, they remain the best line of prevention." An analysis of the flu activity map of the WHO reveals that many parts in India including Telangana has 11 to 20% positive cases, which is "low" when compared with other regions in the world. Many countries had above 30% positive cases.
25th Jan 2018 - Times of India

Florida agencies asked to take action to fight deadly flu epidemic

In Florida, Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is calling on state organizations and companies to take immediate action to fight the flu epidemic after recent reports state there have already been more than 20 pediatric deaths associated with the flu, with two of those deaths occurring right here in Florida, he said.
26th Jan 2018 - ABC Action News

Victoria's horror flu statistics revealed as stronger vaccine on way

A strengthened flu vaccine could be introduced this year after cases soared by nearly 300 per cent during last year's horror flu season in Victoria. There were just over 48,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza last year in Victoria, compared to 12,785 the year before. Australia’s chief medical officer is now in talks with drug manufacturers about introducing new and strengthened vaccines, while calls are growing to extend Australia’s free flu vaccine coverage.
25th Jan 2018 - The Age

Proposed legislation in Florida would enable pharmacists to treat influenza patients

Influenza patients in Florida could be quickly diagnosed and treated by their local pharmacist, if a proposal before the state Legislature is enacted. Bills in the state House and Senate would give pharmacists authority to conduct simple mouth swab tests for influenza and streptococcus and, depending upon the results, dispense prescription oseltamivir phosphate or antibiotics.
25th Jan 2018 - Pharmacist.com

How the Flu's Severity Will Affect Healthcare Spending

One way health insurers can curtail spending on flu care is to be proactive rather than reactive—which means promoting the flu vaccine. “Insurers should encourage members six months of age or older who don’t have a contraindication to get the flu vaccine,” says Shane Speights, DO, dean and associate professor of medicine, NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University. “Although the vaccine has limited effectiveness in preventing the flu with this season’s current strain, it almost universally decreases the flu’s length and severity for those who get the vaccine. And, depending on the type of vaccine, it can protect against three or four different flu types.”
25th Jan 2018 - Modern Medicine Network

Influenza cases low at JBM-HH due to mass vaccinations

An aggressive vaccination schedule and education program has kept influenza under control at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall this winter, according to Andrew Rader Health Clinic. Through December and January, just eight cases of the flu have been diagnosed at the JBM-HH clinic, while the rest of the country has witnessed widespread outbreaks of the H3N2 and H3N3 strains of influenza. Between 3,000 and 4,000 inoculations were issued. and this positive approach has helped keep flu cases low in the Military District of Washington.
25th Jan 2018 - Pentagram

Almost 60% of "high risk" people have not had the flu vaccine in Glasgow

Almost 60% of people who are eligible for the flu shot in Glasgow have not been immunised, figures show. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has renewed a plea to people with pre-existing health conditions to get vaccinated as flu rates quadruple since the start of the year.
25th Jan 2018 - Evening Times

Doctors are running out of the flu jab: A third of GP practices have no stocks or are running low, reveals survey

In the UK, a third of GP practices have run out of flu vaccines or are running low, a worrying survey has revealed amid the worst outbreak in seven years. New data, obtained from a survey of 400 doctors, shows GP practices - where the jab is free to those at-risk free - are starting to run out. The Pulse magazine poll comes just two weeks after an investigation revealed some high street pharmacies were also running out of the vaccines.
25th Jan 2018 - Daily Mail

Flu season may peak in coming weeks, FDA chief says

In the U.S., the flu may peak in coming weeks after a particularly bad season, said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. This year's flu vaccine hasn't been particularly effective because the strain chosen mutated during development in chicken eggs, Gottlieb said. Research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in November supported that. Scientists are exploring new ways to manufacture influenza vaccines, such as growing the virus in cells. However, the process is more expensive and has a lower yield than the traditional method of using chicken eggs, Gottlieb said.
25th Jan 2018 - CNBC

French Health Minister rather in favour of extending the pharmacy flu vaccination programme

The French Health Minister has said that she would be in favour of extending the pharmacy-based flu vaccination programme that has been trialled in two regions this season. She is waiting for a report on the trial so far but it seems to have been a success
25th Jan 2018 - Notre Temps

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 25th Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

One in three GP practices running out of flu vaccine

In the UK, a third of practices have run out of flu vaccines or are running low, with some reporting they are having to borrow vaccines from other practices and have been struggling to replenish stocks, a Pulse survey has revealed. Official figures have shown that this is the worst flu season in seven years, and at-risk patients have been urged to get vaccinated. However, the Daily Telegraph reported that pharmacies were running out, and the Pulse survey of more than 400 GPs shows that practices are also beginning to run out
25th Jan 2018 - Pulse Today

GP practices are 'running out of flu vaccines' as virus continues to spread

24th Jan 2018 - Daily Telegraph

Does the flu vaccine make us more defenseless against infections?

Any notion that having a flu vaccine year after year weakens the immune system response is ludicrous health experts say. Fabrizio Pregliasco, virologist at the University of Milan and health director of the IRCCS Galeazzi of Milan, said "Every time we come into contact with a virus, in whatever way this happens, we keep the immune system alert and expand our "immunological library"
25th Jan 2018 - Corriere della Sera

Alabama House committee OKs bill requiring day cares to provide flu info

In Alabama, a House committee has approved a bill that aims to provide parents with information about influenza. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chatom, would require day care centers to provide information on influenza, as well as recommendations on the availability of the influenza vaccine.
24th Jan 2018 - Montgomery Advertiser

Macao has sufficient resources to cope with seasonal flu: health bureau

Macao has prepared a response plan for seasonal influenza and has sufficient supply of medicines and vaccines to cope with the fluctuating incidence of flu, the special administrative region's health authorities said
24th Jan 2018 - Xinhua

As flu season gets worse, the costs are climbing

In the U.S., this season's flu outbreak is becoming more widespread and even more deadly. For employers and employees alike, that means it's becoming more expensive in terms of lost productivity and health care costs. The widespread 2017-2018 flu season may cost U.S. employers $9.42 billion, according to a January estimate from Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That's based on workers taking four sick days to recover.
24th Jan 2018 - CBS News

EMA frets drug shortages ahead of Brexit

The European Medicines Agency is worried that U.K. companies are not prepared for their March 2019 exit and are trying to limit the repercussions. The European regulatory body is sending out a survey to all U.K. market authorization holders and those companies that have U.K. manufacturing sites to better understand their plans around Brexit.
24th Jan 2018 - BioPharma Dive

Everywhere you look, flu

Assistant Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases Yonatan Grad talks about why this year's seasonal flu has been so severe and why it is so important for eligible patients to get vaccinated.
24th Jan 2018 - Harvard Gazette

Flu Epidemic Has Closed Schools in at Least 12 States, and Administrators Say That"s Not Normal

School across at least a dozen states have closed their doors for a day or longer this flu season as the illness spreads at a rate that officials say they've never seen. The 74 reported Monday that the closures—a result of "excessive absences and concerns about the [flu] virus"—have spanned about 20 districts or individual schools in Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
24th Jan 2018 - Newsweek

Science must get ready for the next global flu crisis

Scientists all agree on what must be the number one research goal for effective mitigation of any future pandemic: a universal flu vaccine. A major international workshop on developing such a vaccine was held last year in Rockville, Maryland, and identified many research gaps — including the complexity of the immune response to infection and vaccination — and a road map for addressing them. Yet the United States, one of the largest flu-research funders, last year invested just US$75 million on universal flu vaccine research and development.
24th Jan 2018 - Nature

How the flu turns deadly

In the U.S., this flu season is fierce and has already claimed the lives of at least 30 children, according to the CDC. Although it doesn't count adult deaths, the CDC estimates that 8.2% of those for the week ending January 13 were due to pneumonia and influenza -- that's more than 1% higher than usual. "Influenza and its complications disproportionately affect people who are 65 and older. They account for 80% of the deaths," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University.
24th Jan 2018 - CNN

Flu Type B is on the rise in Dallas-Fort Worth. What does that mean?

Amid a flu season that’s claimed 60 lives in North Texas, health officials report that flu Type B is on the rise. And even if you've had the flu once this season, you could get it again. At Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, flu B has arrived earlier this season than it has in recent years. Last week, the hospital saw 104 confirmed cases, up from 60 a week earlier.
23rd Jan 2018 - Dallas News

Federal funding doesn't fully support hospitals facing large-scale emergencies like flu

In the U.S., public health experts told lawmakers that hospitals don't have enough federal funding to properly handle large-scale emergencies like the current flu epidemic. Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, testified before a Senate health committee hearing and said hospitals as a whole are not prepared to address the more than 8,000 flu-related admissions that have been reported throughout the country as of Jan. 13.
23rd Jan 2018 - Modern Healthcare.com

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 24th Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Poll: Older Americans would like more health services at local pharmacy

A new survey by PrescribeWellness finds that U.S. residents aged 40 years and older see their local pharmacy as a destination for preventive care and other health services. When asked which services their pharmacy could add to make health care more convenient, 29% of older adults cited access to all vaccines. Of those who have been vaccinated at a local pharmacy, 58% said it is more convenient than visiting their doctor and 46% said it is quicker. Meanwhile, 68% of older adults said having influenza or strep testing at their local pharmacy would be easier than visiting their doctor.
23rd Jan 2018 - Pharmacist.com

VIDEO: Are Bay Area pharmacies selling out of the flu vaccine?

In the U.S., a spokesperson for the CVS chain says they are experiencing an increased demand for flu vaccines, so there may be some instances where individual pharmacies are temporarily out of stock, but they are continuing to supply their stores with the vaccine. The state department of public health says California has an adequate supply of the flu vaccine, and if someone runs into a spot outage, they can check in with their local county health department for a referral or check out vaccinefinder.org.
23rd Jan 2018 - KRON4.com

Macau - City entering influenza season

The Macau SAR is entering the winter influenza season, with the number of patients visiting doctors due to influenza-like illness having increased, the Director of the Health Bureau said. Some 103,500 of 120,000 purchased influenza vaccines have already been disbursed to local residents, he said, adding that the number of people vaccinated in the city has increased compared to the same period of the previous year, and that the number of vaccines acquired by the Bureau would be enough to meet demand.
23rd Jan 2018 - Macau Business

114 KUMACA additional students vaccinated against Swine flu

In Ghana, health officials in the Ashanti Region have now vaccinated 114 additional students of the Kumasi Academy against the H1N1 Influenza type A. The number was part of the 174 students who could not take part in the vaccination exercise in December 2017, when the general vaccination was done following a detection of the virus.
23rd Jan 2018 - Citifmonline

New flu strain could be on its way to New Mexico

With the flu season ending in just a few weeks, doctors in New Mexico say the end may just be the beginning. While one strain of the flu virus might be slowing down, doctors say another one could be on its way and it’s only a matter of time until it hits New Mexico. People are advised to get vaccinated as it's not too late
23rd Jan 2018 - KRQE News 13

Flu Forecasters Predict This Year’s Season to Peak Early

Thanks to years of highly accurate flu forecasts, modelers have been able to tip off health advisors this year to an early peak in flu cases in the U.S. that may already be tapering off. “Our early forecasts [in the fall] weren’t giving us much information on the timing or intensity of this season—they were just matching historic trends,” says epidemiologist and modeler Matthew Biggerstaff of the Influenza Division in the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC. “But by the middle of December, we had good signals for an early season and can safely say now that we’ve confirmed this season started early and peaked early.”
23rd Jan 2018 - The Scientist

Flu warning: Future pandemic could kill millions as virus mutates

The NHS has been struggling to cope with the added burden posed by this winter’s Australian flu outbreak, and other countries, including the United States, France and China are facing similar problems as a WHO spokesman said worse could be around the corner. He said: "Nothing about influenza is predictable, including where the next pandemic might emerge, and which virus might be responsible. The world was fortunate that the 2009 pandemic was relatively mild, but such good fortune is no precedent. "Advance planning and preparedness is key to mitigating the adverse outcomes of future pandemics. This includes building capacity to detect and respond to a public health emergency of international concern.”
23rd Jan 2018 - Express.co.uk

Flu shots mostly not mandatory

Young children and older people are particularly vulnerable to life-threatening complications if they get the flu. But the people who care for them in day care centers and nursing homes are not required to be immunized, in most cases. Illinois doesn't require anyone to get flu shots, even in years like this when flu is widespread. The state mandates health care employers offer influenza vaccinations to employees and keep track of who gets them. Many suburban hospitals report they require employees to get flu shots.
23rd Jan 2018 - Chicago Daily Herald

To thwart flu pandemics, we need to decode the human immune system

Public health experts have traditionally fought skirmishes against influenza. The time has come to mount an all-out assault on it by decoding the human immune system. Deciphering the human immunome, the universal and common elements of the B and T cell receptors that make up the adaptive immune system, will facilitate germline targeting and structure-assisted vaccine discovery. Understanding the mechanisms for protective immunity will enable rational vaccine design aimed at specifically inducing such immune effector mechanisms.
23rd Jan 2018 - Stat News

Flu in Wales: Protect Yourself from Influenza this Winter

Influenza is now circulating across Wales, and the number of cases is increasing. The flu vaccine remains the best way to protect yourself against catching flu and vaccines are still available. Public Health Wales is reminding anyone from the age of six months with a long term health condition, or pregnant, or aged 65 or over, to get protected against flu with a free NHS vaccination if they haven’t had one yet this winter.
23rd Jan 2018 - Business News Wales

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 23rd Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

CDC Continues To Track Flu Cases During Government Shutdown

In the U.S., despite the government shutdown, officials with the CDC are still tracking cases of the flu, and stated that they will continue to do so despite the shutdown. However, it is likely that the CDC will be short-staffed while tracking the country’s flu cases. According to Time magazine, 63 percent of the CDC’s employees will be furloughed during the government shutdown. That comes out to a total of about 8,500 people that the CDC will be without.
22nd Jan 2018 - CBS DFW

Influenza response will be maintained during shutdown, officials say

22nd Jan 2018 - Pharmacist.com

CDC Director: The truth about the flu

Brenda Fitzgerald, Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, writes: "The U.S. is in the midst of a severe flu season, and CDC’s tracking data shows flu cases are still increasing across the country. Our research also reveals that most of the nation is currently experiencing widespread and intense flu activity." She adds recommendations on how to avoid catching the virus and what to do if you have it
22nd Jan 2018 - Fox News

Expert says vaccination is still recommended for flu despite decreased effectiveness

As the UK currently experiences the worst influenza season since the winter of 2010/2011, influenza expert Dr. Jeremy Rossman, worries that 'the number of cases will continue to rise over the coming weeks, with similar increases in GP visits and hospitalizations, enhanced by the current low temperatures throughout the country. "Despite the reduced vaccine effectiveness, individuals are still recommended to get the vaccine, as the quadrivalent vaccine is highly effective against the Japanese flu (Yamagata flu B) and against the other circulating H1N1 strains.
22nd Jan 2018 - Medical Xpress

What's Scary About Shutting Down the CDC

In the U.S., an employee at the C.D.C, in Atlanta, who is familiar with the public-health institute’s influenza-related activities, explained to The New Yorker what the C.D.C. can and can’t do during a shutdown, and what’s frightening about even a brief stoppage in its work
22nd Jan 2018 - The New Yorker

Free swine flu vaccine plan covers more "at risk" groups

In India, children below the age of five, elderly people aged 65 or more, people suffering from lung, kidney and liver diseases, people on long-term steroid medications and those with low immunity have now been put in the "at risk" category for swine flu in Pune city. As a result, they will now be eligible for the state's free swine flu vaccination programme.
22nd Jan 2018 - Times of India

At risk groups urged to get a flu vaccination

In England, health bosses have urged people in at-risk groups to get themselves vaccinated as the number of flu cases recorded in recent weeks rises. Those aged over 65, pregnant women and residents with chronic conditions, in particular, have been advised to speak to their GP about getting a flu jab.
22nd Jan 2018 - Blackpool Gazette

TCHD: Reports that H3N2 vaccine not effective are unfounded

In the U.S., reports that the H3N2 influenza vaccine is not as effective as hoped this year are not true, said Tazewell County Health Department Director of Clinical Services Angie Phillips. “There are some sources that are saying it is a 10 percent rate of effectiveness this year, but that number actually comes from preliminary estimates that were done in Australia for their most recent flu season,” said Phillips. “It is too early to predict that we are going to see something similar here.
22nd Jan 2018 - Peoria Journal Star

Why this year's flu outbreak is one of the worst

In the UK, three strains of flu are circulating at once, including H3N2. Although good against the other strains, this season the vaccine is about 20 per cent protective against H3N2 viruses (not great, but better than nothing) as the virus changes unavoidably during production. This is due to a quirk of how flu vaccines are produced. They are grown in chicken eggs, and then inactivated before being used in vaccines.
22nd Jan 2018 - The Independent

CDC director urges flu vaccinations as pediatric deaths mount

Of the 30 U.S. children who have died from the flu so far this season, some 85 percent had not been vaccinated, said CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, who urged Americans to get flu shots amid one of the most severe flu seasons in years. Although the vaccine is only estimated to be about 30 percent effective against the H3N2 strain, it has been shown in studies to reduce severity and duration if people do become infected, said Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the influenza division at the CDC
22nd Jan 2018 - Reuters

Boots running low on vaccines in Gloucester as Aussie Flu continues to spread

A Boots pharmacy in Gloucester in the UK has said it is running low on vaccines as Aussie Flu continues to sweep the nation. Boots in Eastgate Street is now down to eight flu vaccinations until the next delivery can be made. The shortages come as there were more flu outbreaks in Gloucestershire's care homes this winter than anywhere else in the South West.
21st Jan 2018 - Gloucestershire Live

Flu: 6 French-speaking doctors out of 10 in favour of compulsory flu vaccination for healthcare staff

In Belgium, an internet poll run by Le Vif showed that a majority of French speaking doctors are in favour of making the flu vaccine compulsory for healthcare workers. The question has been raised in France and will probably be discussed again. In the U.S. it has become common place but there aren't any meta analysis showing how effective the measure is
19th Jan 2018 - Le Vif

As the seasonal flu period approaches its peak there is an increase in cases caused by an unexpected strain

Influenza cases are continuing to increase as Italy begins to approach its seasonal flu peak. The main explanation is an "unexpected" strain of the virus whose circulation has intensified in recent days, according to Fabrizio Pregliasco, researcher at the University of Milan and health director at IRCCS Galeazzi: "This is the so-called Yamagata virus and the trivalent vaccine on offer does not guarantee total protection against it."
18th Jan 2018 - La Repubblica

TCHD: Reports that H3N2 vaccine not effective are unfounded

In the U.S., reports that the H3N2 influenza vaccine is not as effective as hoped this year are not true, said Tazewell County Health Department Director of Clinical Services Angie Phillips. “There are some sources that are saying it is a 10 percent rate of effectiveness this year, but that number actually comes from preliminary estimates that were done in Australia for their most recent flu season,” said Phillips. “It is too early to predict that we are going to see something similar here.
22nd Jan 2018 - Peoria Journal Star

Why this year's flu outbreak is one of the worst

In the UK, three strains of flu are circulating at once, including H3N2. Although good against the other strains, this season the vaccine is about 20 per cent protective against H3N2 viruses (not great, but better than nothing) as the virus changes unavoidably during production. This is due to a quirk of how flu vaccines are produced. They are grown in chicken eggs, and then inactivated before being used in vaccines.
22nd Jan 2018 - The Independent

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 22nd Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

CDC's flu tracking program to continue if U.S. government shuts down

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will continue its work tracking one of the worst flu seasons the United States has seen in several years even if the federal government shuts down on Saturday, senior administration officials said on Friday. Earlier, the Department of Health and Human Services had released a contingency plan in case the Senate failed to pass a stopgap spending measure by a midnight deadline. According to that plan, the CDC’s flu tracking program would be suspended during a shutdown. But late Friday night, officials told reporters on a conference call that the program would continue
19th Jan 2018 - Reuters

The CDC Says It Will Keep Tracking The Flu During The Shutdown

20th Jan 2018 - BuzzFeed News

Flu response will be maintained during shutdown, officials say, contrary to previous plan

19th Jan 2018 - Stat News

Flu Program Would Be Suspended If U.S. Government Shuts Down

The U.S. government’s efforts to battle an especially virulent flu season could be forced to pause if lawmakers fail to reach agreement on spending legislation before an early Saturday deadline. The Department of Health and Human Services said on Friday that it would furlough half of its workers and suspend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s influenza program, among other measures, if temporary funding for the federal government expires at midnight.
19th Jan 2018 - Bloomberg

Government Shutdowns And The CDC

21st Jan 2018 - NPR

Shutdown would suspend CDC flu program during severe influenza season

19th Jan 2018 - Stat News

This flu season is already awful, and the government might stop tracking the spread of the bug if a shutdown happens

19th Jan 2018 - CNBC

Flu program would be suspended if US government shuts down

19th Jan 2018 - The Denver Post

This flu season keeps getting deadlier, and a shutdown will make things worse

19th Jan 2018 - Washington Post

Influenza is officially back in Belgium: there's still time for a flu shot

In Belgium, a flu epidemic has now been declared and people are being advised on how to avoid catching and spreading the virus, the first recommendation being to get a flu shot.
21st Jan 2018 - Rtbf.be

Wales to implement flu outbreak DES

The BMA in Wales has agreed a flu outbreak DES with the Welsh government in the wake of the growing number of flu cases, the chair of the Wales GP Committee announced. Dr Charlotte Jones told GPs at the Welsh LMCs Conference that negotiations on the contract for 2018/19 were ongoing, and included ’positive changes’ regarding indemnity, workload issues and ‘last man standing’ liabilities.
20th Jan 2018 - Pulse Today

The flu shot may be more effective now than ever - and it won't make you sick: We answer readers' burning questions

There are about three months left of flu season, with other strains of the virus emerging, and rates of hospitalizations continue to climb. But research shows the rate of refusals is climbing - and many readers have cited fears that the flu shot is either ineffective or causes illness. The Daily Mail answers the most common questions, myths and misconceptions about this year's vaccine
20th Jan 2018 - Daily Mail

Flu vaccine in high demand as illness spreads

In the U.S., the flu is so widespread, it’s now being reported in every state. The flu season keeps getting deadlier, too. 30 kids have died from flu-related illnesses so far, according to the CDC. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year. Big Y pharmacist Sam Baidoo said they’ve seen nearly double the amount of people coming in for the flu vaccination, in the last two weeks.
20th Jan 2018 - Wwlp.com

We're underfunding research on vaccines that may be able to prevent another terrible flu season

Several different approaches to a universal flu vaccine are being pursued, and the preliminary research is promising. Nevertheless, there is surprisingly meager federal research funding in this area. We also need more research on adjuvants. There is a flu vaccine for people over 65 that contains four times as much antigen as regular flu shots, and one that contains an adjuvant, but they have improved the shot’s effectiveness only slightly. An increase in research funding on adjuvants, more effective dosing regimens and better production methods are simple changes that would better prepare us to face flu outbreaks.
19th Jan 2018 - Los Angeles Times

Preparing for the Next Influenza Pandemic

The best defense against the ongoing burden of seasonal epidemics and the threat of the next pandemic, we need to solve two problems: a science problem and a capacity problem. The science problem is to create better influenza vaccines. However, as the work to develop better vaccines progresses, it is essential that countries develop the programs to deliver and administer the vaccines. This is the “capacity” problem, and it may be even more urgent. Even the best vaccines require national systems to guarantee their timely delivery and use once they are created.
19th Jan 2018 - Scientific American

The $9 billion reason you should never show up to work sick

The flu is widespread in 49 US states right now, and CDC officials say the 2018 flu season "is proving particularly difficult." The 2017 flu shot isn't working very well against one of the most common strains of the virus. What's more, global outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates that the flu could cost employers more than $9.4 billion in lost productivity.
19th Jan 2018 - Business Insider

Flu's terrible this season. But many of us aren't staying home like we should

In the U.S., 39 percent of people go to work when ill, according to a survey from urgent care provider CityMD. The CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after fever subsides, without the help of fever-reducing medication. In addition to staying home, public health officials also universally recommend getting the flu vaccine.
19th Jan 2018 - CNBC

New Influenza Virus was Detected in Bulgaria

A new influenza virus was detected in Bulgaria. The National Reference Laboratory at the National Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases has demonstrated in four samples from the Sliven region a new strain of group B virus - "Victoria". Of the 300 samples tested, there were 100 positive results, indicating an epidemic spread. 84% are from group B, which is surprising - most of them are from the Yamagata strain. The 12 strains are group "A".
19th Jan 2018 - Novinite.com

How to tell this year's flu hysteria is all hype

Michael Fumento, a journalist, author and attorney who has been writing on infectious-disease panics for over 30 years, criticises the media reports on the flu outbreak in the U.S. this year, saying they made the epidemic sound far more dramatic than it is. He does write that "the low immunization rate of this year’s vaccine does shed important light on the antiquated system of trying to guess the most viral strains of next season’s epidemic to know which three or four to painstakingly grow, usually in eggs. What’s needed is a universal vaccine that protects against a part of all flu viruses that never mutate"
19th Jan 2018 - New York Post

Flu Vaccine Supplies Running Low

According to the Department of Health, so far this season the state of Pennsylvania has reported more than 17,000 cases of the flu, with a large increase in reported cases just in the past few weeks. The increase in flu cases has caused some pharmacies, like The Medicine Shoppe in Scranton, to run out of the vaccine and of Tamiflu
19th Jan 2018 - Wnep.com

The bad flu season has revealed a dangerous problem with our medical supply chain

In the U.S., making the threat of a difficult flu season worse is how most of the IV saline bags used in common medical treatments and procedures — including severe cases of the flu — are made in Puerto Rico, which is still reeling from Hurricane Maria. Hospitals in some areas that are operating at or above capacity because of the flu are quickly running low on saline, resorting to time-consuming and potentially dangerous treatments of patients. Federal, state and local governments have to alter procedures, but private companies involved in the production and delivery of critical goods have to plan ahead for emergencies.
19th Jan 2018 - Washington Post

Vaccination during the election campaign - 10 points that need clarification if we are to avoid them being exploited politically

In the election campaign these vaccination related issues need proper defining so voters can take decisions on which way to vote based on logic rather than passion and prejudice. The intelligent decisions behind a pro-vax need to be made on a logical foundation and not via party or personal position. There writer outlines these 10 key points and explains why they matter to the Italian voter
18th Jan 2018 - Il Fatto Quotidiano

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 19th Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Doctors "were told to use cheaper flu vaccine"

In the UK, NHS bosses asked GPs to use a cheaper, less effective flu vaccine, it has been claimed. A senior doctor said that the decision may have led to a rise in patients being admitted to hospital with influenza. Nick Scriven, president of the Society of Acute Medicine, told HSJ: “Not using the quadrivalent vaccine has increased the risk of flu admissions. Half of the flu cases we are getting are the A strain, half are the B. “It’s probably about half the cases that are coming into hospital that may have been prevented.”
18th Jan 2018 - The Times

NHS attempts to save £3 per flu jab have fuelled winter crisis as "Japanese flu" spreads through hospitals

18th Jan 2018 - Telegraph.co.uk

Senate health committee begins reapproval process for nation"s hazards preparedness law - Homeland Preparedness News

Dr. Robert Kadlec, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for instance, said the office has enough domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity to produce bulk vaccines for each American within six months. However, emergency supplemental funding has been depleted, he added, and the H7N9 influenza virus is currently circulating in China. “We are concerned with the ominous trends that we are seeing,” Kadlec said.
18th Jan 2018 - Homeland Preparedness News

PAHPA reauthorization opens against a backdrop of disasters and threats - BioWorld Online

18th Jan 2018 - BioWorld Online

Winning the war on flu: Number of cases halved

In Jersey, offering flu jabs in pharmacies and a nasal vaccine to all primary school pupils has helped cut the number of reported cases of the virus by nearly half compared to last year, health experts have said.
18th Jan 2018 - Jersey Evening Post

Almost 4 million people have already been affected by influenza in Italy. The country has not seen as many cases as this since the last occasion in 2004

The flu continues to spread across Italy but there appears to be a slight decline in the epidemic curve: which, write the ISS experts, "gives us hope that the last fortnight could be the seasonal epidemic peak". The incidence level is still "very high" and equates to 13.73 flu cases per thousand
18th Jan 2018 - La Repubblica

Hong Kong schools could do more to promote flu shots

In Hong Kong, during the Christmas holidays, public hospitals were again overwhelmed by patients infected with seasonal influenza. While recruiting private doctors and leasing beds from private hospitals could alleviate the shortage of health services in public hospitals, the government should also make more concerted efforts to promote influenza vaccination among the vulnerable groups in the city, especially schoolchildren.
18th Jan 2018 - South China Morning Post

New vaccine should help in fight against the flu

Now a new conventional triple flu vaccination against the flu has got approval. As studies show, the conventional triple vaccine against the pathogens can often prove to be less than effective. The Robert Koch Institute estimates that the quadrivalent vaccine has eliminated 270,000 flu-related illnesses each year. But whether the new drug costs will be covered by the health insurance sector is still less certain.
18th Jan 2018 - Süddeutsche.de

Influenza puts many in bed

The number of influenza cases continues to increase. Last week, the Sentinella reporting system reported 44.4 suspected flu cases per 1,000 consultations, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) website. Extrapolated this becomes 365 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. There were 331 cases last week. Four-year-old children with 488 cases per 100,000 inhabitants continue to be the most affected group. This is followed by the over-65s with 379 cases and the 15 to 29-year-olds with 370 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The flu is widespread in all regions of Switzerland. In the cantons of Aargau, Solothurn and the two Basel areas, as well as in central Switzerland, the number of suspected flu cases continues to rise across the country
18th Jan 2018 - Schweizerbauer

Flu outbreak spurs vaccine R&D effort

Drugs companies are developing a new vaccine to combat the various flu strains that have swept China this winter, a respiratory expert told Guangzhou Daily. "The most dominant strain this flu season has been B/Yamagata, which the current seasonal vaccine does not cover," said Zhong Nanshan.
18th Jan 2018 - CCTV

Catholic Church has new guidelines in midst of flu epidemic

In New Mexico, the Catholic Church has some new guidelines because of the recent flu epidemic. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe sent out a letter to churches throughout the state. The letter says parishioners don't have to shake hands during mass or drink the wine during communion. The state health department also said if people don't get the flu shot, they’re not only putting their own health at risk, but the risk of others.
18th Jan 2018 - KOAT Albuquerque

GP warns - get a flu jab before they run out

In the UK, Dr Nigel Watson is the chief executive of the Wessex Local Medical Committee, which represents GPs across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Wiltshire, Dorset and Bath and north-east Somerset. He said that there is a ‘serious threat that we face with the rising number of cases of influenza’ and that it risks not only people’s health but will stretch the NHS as well. ‘General practice will have limited stocks of flu vaccine left and we are being asked by the medical director of the NHS to use these stocks to vaccinate the eligible patients within the next two weeks.’
18th Jan 2018 - The News

Inside the flu lab, team in Temple working on next year's flu vaccine

Baylor Scott & White in Temple, in the middle of Texas, is one of five locations across the U.S. conducting daily tests on influenza swab samples taken from patients, determining which strain of the flu each patient carried, whether those same patients had received vaccines, and to what level current vaccines may or may not have worked. Manjusha Gaglani, MD, who leads the Vaccine Effectiveness Program there, confirms that this year’s vaccines are proving the least effective against the H3N2 strain of the flu. And it is the strain they are finding the most in lab tests
17th Jan 2018 - WFAA

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 18th Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

How a government shutdown could affect drug safety, flu response, and more

In the U.S., unless Republicans coalesce this week around a short-term spending deal, the federal government will shut down — a scenario that will likely have widespread and long-lasting consequences for public health. If the government does shut down this week, it will do so in the midst of a one of the worst flu seasons in recent years. That could change whether the influenza decision is considered “essential,” according to the former officials.
17th Jan 2018 - Stat News

Is it worth getting vaccinated now?

Any vaccination against flu is useful protection, according to the Robert Koch Institute. The current triple vaccine does not protect against certain influenza B viruses from the so-called Yamagata lineage, which, according to RKI, caused more than half of all previously proven influenza cases. There is a component for this lineage in the quadrivalent flu vaccination, which is why it is recommended by the Vaccination Standing Committee. In higher risk patients this is a factor to be looked at more closely
17th Jan 2018 - Der Bild

Here's Why the Flu Is Especially Bad This Year

On Friday, the CDC announced a first in its 13 years of flu monitoring: As of Jan. 6, every part of the continental U.S. showed “widespread” flu activity. The CDC estimates that the flu vaccine will be effective against roughly 30% of H3 viruses this year. That said, the CDC still recommends that you get vaccinated if you haven’t already, as there could be as many as 13 weeks of flu season still to come.
17th Jan 2018 - Time

Israeli Medical Association rejects mandatory flu shots for doctors

Although many US hospitals require all medical personnel who are in direct contact with patients to get influenza shots every autumn, the Israel Medical Association only recommends the vaccine to its 25,000 members, while it refuses to allow those who have been vaccinated to wear a tag or pin saying so. IMA chairman Prof. Leonid Eidelman, who is chief of anesthesiology at the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva, said that doctors should not be forced to get the vaccination. “And even if they do voluntarily wear a pin showing they were vaccinated, it doesn’t give a good impression about those who don’t. There is a slippery slope; doctors could be forced to wear pins saying they have HIV or hepatitis C. It would never end.”
17th Jan 2018 - The Jerusalem Post

Special report: Banburyshire GPs encourage getting flu jab to avoid illness

GPs in Banburyshire in the UK are assuring people in vulnerable categories it is not too late to be vaccinated against flu. He gave his advice after news reports revealed that the NHS has obtained a trivalent rather than quadrivalent vaccine this year which covers more of the strains of the flu virus.
17th Jan 2018 - Banbury Guardian

Flu vaccines available in York after recent shortage

Flu vaccines are available again in York in the UK after supplies recently ran short amid a serious outbreak. This week, The Press reported how many York pharmacists had run out of the vaccine, as new figures indicated the city had the highest rate of influenza in England. On Wednesday, health bosses encouraged residents to get vaccinated against flu, and said while some providers were running low on vaccine, "many pharmacies and GP practices do have stocks available".
17th Jan 2018 - The Press

WHO seeks national plans to respond to influenza outbreaks

Influenza outbreaks in different parts of the world demand national plans that must be flexible enough to respond to outbreaks of various intensity, says a World Health Organization communication received in Pakistan Wednesday. It was emphasized that the impact of pandemic influenza on individuals and societies can be reduced by being well prepared. A comprehensive plan that could be further refined through conducting exercises, engaging the whole of society was suggested as an essential requirement for countries prone to experience the outbreak
17th Jan 2018 - Business Recorder

Prompt Use of Antivirals is Key This Flu Season

A recent sharp increase in influenza A(H3N2) activity in the United States has prompted the CDC to release a health advisory emphasizing the importance of its antiviral treatment recommendations this season. The CDC also explains why flu vaccine effectiveness against influenza A(H3N2) viruses may be lower compared to other influenza viruses. One reason is “egg-adapted changes.” Other vaccine production technologies, e.g., cell-based vaccine production or recombinant flu vaccines, could circumvent this shortcoming
17th Jan 2018 - Infection Control Today

PSNC reassures on seasonal flu vaccine stocks

In the UK, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has moved to reassure community pharmacy contractors that there is no seasonal flu vaccination shortage. The pharmacy negotiating body said flu vaccinations were still available within the pharmacy wholesaler market so pharmacies needing vaccinations should be able to source them. During the 2017–2018 flu season so far, more than 1.175 million vaccinations have been given by pharmacies under the community pharmacy seasonal influenza vaccine service, according to figures provided to PSNC by PharmOutcomes, Sonar Informatics and NHS England/NHS Business Services Authority.
17th Jan 2018 - Pharmaceutical Journal

NHS pharmacists urged to have seasonal flu jab

In the UK, NHS pharmacists have been urged to remember their “shared professional responsibility” to protect patients and get vaccinated against seasonal flu. The move follows rising numbers of patients becoming seriously ill and hospitalised with the virus in recent weeks. In a letter signed by leading clinicians, all NHS staff have been asked to “play their part” in protecting public health.
16th Jan 2018 - Pharmaceutical Journal

The flu vaccine does not protect you against the current strain found in Italy

The National Higher Institute of Health has tried to clarify the present situation for those concerned. The flu strain most widespread this season, contrary to expectations, is the Yamagata B strain, which is not contained in the overwhelming majority of trivalent vaccines administered. It is a strain present, however, in the quadrivalent version of the vaccine, which accounts for 40% of the total of 184,167 doses delivered to ASL and then distributed onward to doctors and paediatricians. A note of caution. The quadrivalent cannot be given to children under 3 years of age. This was only given approval by the Italian drug agency just a few days ago.
16th Jan 2018 - Giornalettismo.com

The flu vaccine is only about 30% effective but you should get it anyway

Some media reports have speculated that this year’s flu shot will only be about 10% effective for Americans, based on results seen in Australia during its flu season. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it expects this year’s effectiveness rate to be closer to last year’s number, between 32% and 39%.
16th Jan 2018 - Quartz

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 17th Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Flu stresses hospitals, shows we're not ready for emergencies

Experts agree the U.S. is not ready for a bad flu epidemic, or even for some other disaster that would affect hospital supplies. And funding cuts mean even a little strain has a bigger impact than in years past. This year’s flu season is moderately severe, but not anywhere close to being one for the record books. So far, it’s not as bad as the 2014-2015 flu season, the CDC says. Many reports have pointed out these weaknesses in the U.S. emergency infrastructure, yet year after year budgets are slashed, public health workers are laid off, and recommendations for increased preparedness funding are ignored by Congress.
16th Jan 2018 - NBC News.com

STIKO: Protection against four flu vaccine strains is better than protection against three

The Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has explained in its latest Epidemiological Bulletin why it now recommends quadrivalent seasonal influenza vaccines moving forward, though, current recommendations for immunization still apply
16th Jan 2018 - Apotheke Adhoc

Aussie flu latest: Cumbrian pharmacies restocking as vaccine demand soars

In the UK, Jeff Forster, chief officer at Cumbria Local Pharmacy Committee, has stressed that the flu vaccine is still available and said most pharmacies now say they are ordering more in to meet demand. Hospitals across Cumbria say they are continuing to see a rise in the number of patients seriously affected by flu.
16th Jan 2018 - News & Star

Flu: why this year's outbreak is one of the worst

There are three red flags this flu season, and they are that H3N2 viruses typically causes more hospitalisations and deaths in older people, there are difficulties in producing effective H3N2 vaccines, and there’s more than just H3N2 to consider, especially in the UK this year. Although good against the other strains, this season the vaccine is about 20% protective against H3N2 viruses (not great, but better than nothing) as the virus changed unavoidably during production. This is due to a quirk of how flu vaccines are produced. They are grown in chicken eggs, and then inactivated before being used in vaccines.
16th Jan 2018 - The Conversation UK

NHS staff urged to get flu vaccination

In the UK, NHS leaders have renewed their call for all NHS staff to get the flu vaccination in an attempt to help reduce the spread of flu this winter. England’s chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies is one of a group of leading doctors and nurses who have written a letter to NHS staff urging them to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Official estimates are that around 59% of staff across the NHS have had the vaccine, but that means 41% have not and in some trusts, less than 30% of staff are protected.
16th Jan 2018 - Practice Business

The flu jab rip-off: Private GPs accused of cashing in on the crisis by charging £45 for vaccine that costs the NHS £8

In the UK, private GPs have been accused of cashing in on the flu crisis by charging as much as £45 for a vaccine that costs the NHS £8. And some clinics are charging up to £75 for a nasal immunisation spray for children that costs the health service £18. Although patients in certain ‘at risk’ groups – including the over-65s – get vaccinated for free on the NHS, the majority have to pay privately.
16th Jan 2018 - Daily Mail

"Smart Thermometers" Track Flu Season in Real Time

A company making “smart thermometers” that upload body temperatures to its website claims to be tracking this year’s flu season faster and in greater geographic detail than public health authorities can. This year’s flu season — which the CDC considers “moderately severe” — has left Missouri and Iowa the “sickest states in the country,” said Inder Singh, the founder of Kinsahealth.com. Kinsa’s technology was approved by the FDA in 2014 and gathered data in subsequent flu seasons; the company hopes to soon publish a study by outside experts assessing its accuracy in measuring the seasonal spread
16th Jan 2018 - New York Times

How bad will the flu epidemic be?

The flu season is just beginning in Germany and all the signs are set for trouble. The virus this year seems to be the influenza A / H3N2 subtype, which has caused the majority of illnesses in the US and Australia, is the most unpleasant seasonal influenza strain. Historical data shows that in years with high levels of H3N2, on average, nearly three times as many people die of influenza and its consequences than in normal years, especially older people over the age of 65 years.
16th Jan 2018 - Spektrum der Wissenschaft

We Need a Universal Flu Vaccine before the Next Pandemic Strikes

Recently the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases convened a workshop with leading experts in the influenza field to address the need for better influenza vaccines. Among many obstacles to developing a universal vaccine, the most formidable is our incomplete understanding of the immune responses that protect people against influenza, including the role of immunity at mucosal surfaces. One approach is to design a vaccine to generate antibody responses to parts of the virus that are common to all influenza strains and do not readily change by mutation. It is also crucial to clarify how other parts of the immune system work together with antibodies to protect against influenza.
16th Jan 2018 - Scientific American

Forcing health professionals to get flu vaccine is ‘regressive’, union says

In Ireland, any attempts by the Minister for Health to make the flu vaccine mandatory for health professionals would “push it into another sphere”, Siptu says. Paul Bell, the union’s health division organiser, said such a move would be "regressive". Mr Bell said there were many reasons why health care professionals might not want to get the flu vaccine such as a fear of “needle sticks” or the side effects from the vaccine.
16th Jan 2018 - Irish Times

GPs urged to use all remaining stocks of flu vaccine in next two weeks

GPs across the UK have been asked to use their remaining flu jabs to immunise all eligible patients within the next two weeks. NHS England medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh and chair of RCGP professor Helen Stokes-Lampard co-signed a letter in which they urged GP practices to make sure the remaining three million eligible patients get their free flu jab injection. The news comes amid reports some pharmacies were running low on vaccine stocks, but pharmacist representatives said stocks were available at wholesale level.
16th Jan 2018 - Pulse

PSNC tries to avert panic over flu crisis by insisting vaccine stocks are available

In England, the PSNC has attempted to reduce the alarm generated by reports that pharmacies are running low on flu vaccinations by insisting stock is available within the pharmacy wholesale market. The Telegraph claimed that pharmacies were turning away people looking to get vaccinated across England due to a lack of stock, with shortages occurring in Cumbria as well as 10 branches of Boots in the Midlands, the east, south and south-west of England.
16th Jan 2018 - Pharmacy Business

The influenza strain may bypass the vaccines effectiveness. That's why an epidemic has broken out

Despite doctors saying getting some extra 10% of the most at risk population vaccinated against the flu it is still too low, at just over 50%. The number of people reporting influenza symptoms is already high and the main problem appears to be the prevalent flu strain, Type B Yamagata, which many feel is not probably covered by the flu vaccine avaialble
15th Jan 2018 - La Nazione

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 16th Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

A severe flu season is stretching hospitals thin. That is a very bad omen

In the U.S., a tsunami of sick people has swamped hospitals in many parts of the country in recent weeks as a severe flu season has taken hold. If something as foreseeable as a flu season is stretching health care to its limits, it is a bad sign for the ability of hospitals to handle the next flu pandemic. Experts in the field of emergency preparedness warned that funding cuts for programs that help hospitals and public health departments plan for outbreaks have eroded the very infrastructure society will need to help it weather these types of crises
15th Jan 2018 - Stat News

Hospitals Better Prepared for Mass Shootings than Flu

15th Jan 2018 - MedPage Today

Don't knock the flu jab – it's a modern miracle

In the UK, Jenny Rohn runs a lab at UCL, researching infectious disease. She explains why the flu vaccine is different from other vaccines (with much higher of effectiveness), and how our expectations in this respect are often unrealistic. She writes: " If the flu season turns out to be as bad in the northern hemisphere as it was in the southern, it won’t be the fault of the vaccine. Instead, we should remember that despite all its imperfections, it’s a remarkable achievement that doesn’t deserve the bad press it perennially suffers."
15th Jan 2018 - The Guardian

More than three million high-risk patients yet to have flu jab, as cases surge

In the UK, more than three million people at high risk of flu are in need of a vaccination according to top health officials, as fears grow over the current outbreak becoming an epidemic. A letter sent to every GP practice in England urged doctors to use “all remaining stocks of vaccinations” to immunise as many at-risk patients as possible in the next two weeks. It was sent after reports emerged that chemists and pharmacists were running out of vaccinations as the number of flu cases in the UK continued to rise.
15th Jan 2018 - The Independent

Healthcare professionals may be compelled to have flu vaccine

In Ireland, a mandatory order requiring health professionals to have the flu vaccine is under consideration. Minister for Health Simon Harris has said he will consider making it obligatory for healthcare professionals to have the anti-flu jab and that numbers availing of the vaccine has increased. But he added that the uptake was still too low. The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said it was opposed to the idea and it would be forced to challenge the human rights aspect of any such move.
15th Jan 2018 - Irish Times

A century ago the Spanish flu killed millions. A similar pandemic today could be even more deadly

Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, writes: "We need a universal flu vaccine, one that provides effective and lasting protection against all forms of influenza. Yet with a thriving $3.3 billion seasonal flu vaccine market there is little incentive to invest in one. So, while there have been some promising developments, with trials of yet another candidate universal flu vaccine beginning last autumn, research into this field is woefully underfunded and a solution still a long way off."
15th Jan 2018 - The Spectator

CDC switches its Grand Rounds discussion from nuke attack to influenza outbreak

In a late decision, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has switched the topic of its Public Health Grand Round from nuclear-attack preparedness to “Public Health Response to a Sharp Increase in Severe Seasonal Influenza.” “The topic for CDC’s Public Health Grand Rounds on [Tuesday] will now focus on influenza,” the CDC states. “With the spike in flu cases around the country, this Grand Rounds will provide key and timely information for public health professionals on how to reduce the spread of seasonal flu in communities and adjust to spot shortages in antiviral drugs because of high influenza activity.”
14th Jan 2018 - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

GP warns Bath of "serious threat" posed by flu as vaccine stocks dwindle

In the UK, a GP has warned the Bath community that this year's flu is more severe than normal and poses a "serious threat". Dr Nigel Watson, who represents some 3,755 GPs across the region, is urging those who are particularly vulnerable to the worst effects of the flu to get the flu vaccine before stocks runs out.
14th Jan 2018 - Bath Chronicle

Medics using 30-minute flu test after influenza admissions double at South Tyneside Hospital

In the UK, as the NHS battles against the flu epidemic sweeping the country, staff at a hospital in Harton Lane, south Shields, are using a new ‘point of care’ testing kit which enables them to determine the best treatment for a patient in minutes. The treatment involves a nose and mouth swab which gives almost instant data to doctors. Knowing who has the virus is allowing them to direct specialist care to those most in need - and isolate them from those who do not have it
13th Jan 2018 - Shields Gazette

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 15th Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Boots "temporarily" runs out of flu vaccine as Brits scramble to get protected against virus

In the UK, several Boots stores “temporarily” ran out of the flu vaccine on Friday as scores of Brits scrambled to get vaccinated against the virus. The stores reported a “high level of demand” for the service amid growing concerns about the severity of flu viruses circulating this year. A Department for Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: "Vaccines are the best protection we have against flu. As well as getting the jab from a pharmacy, patients can also book an appointment with their GP. "We are in close contact with the vaccine manufacturers and we are confident there is sufficient vaccine availability."
13th Jan 2018 - Evening Standard

Pharmacists run out of vaccine as flu cases surge

13th Jan 2018 - The Independent

Exclusive: Chemists running low on flu jabs amid fears of epidemic as France offers to treat British patients

12th Jan 2018 - Daily Telegraph

Shortage of flu vaccine amid fears of UK epidemic

In the UK, there has been a surge in demand for flu vaccines and some chemists are running out of stock. The government says it has flu vaccine stocks and is confident there is enough to satisfy demand
13th Jan 2018 - TV New Zealand

Jab shortage as 'Aussie flu' cases rise

13th Jan 2018 - Sky News

Aussie flu: Jab stocks running low in Barrow as demand surges

In the UK, pharmacies across Cumbria are running out of flu vaccines as people rush to get the jab amid the high-profile Aussie flu scare. The NHS has been urging people to make sure they are protected. Yet a CN Group investigation has revealed many pharmacies across the county no longer have stocks, or are running low. Some GP surgeries in Cumbria have also turned patients away, saying the vaccine is no longer available
12th Jan 2018 - NW Evening Mail

Aussie flu: Jab stocks running low in Cumbria as demand surges

12th Jan 2018 - News & Star

Three million vulnerable Brits need vaccination against Aussie flu that has swept the UK

In the UK, Health chiefs have warned high risk people to get vaccinated within the next fortnight as the Aussie flu outbreak is dubbed the biggest wave of “public fear” since swine flu struck in 2009. A letter from Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England Medical Director, and Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, urges doctors to ensure that all remaining stocks of vaccinations are “used to immunise eligible patients in the next two weeks”.
14th Jan 2018 - The Sun

Patients' lives are being put at risk as scores of doctors and nurses ignore official pleas to get the flu vaccination

In the UK, two-thirds of doctors and nurses at some hospitals have ignored official pleas to get themselves vaccinated against flu this winter. Last week, senior doctors warned that not enough NHS workers are having the jab. Now an official report shows shockingly low staff vaccination rates at some of the country’s biggest and busiest hospitals
14th Jan 2018 - Daily Mail

The UK media's "Aussie flu" fears have gone viral – but can a global source be identified?

The UK flu report shows H3N2 is the main virus being detected but intensive care admissions – a marker of serious disease – show flu B is having a big impact too, in all age groups but especially children. There is no easy way to prove the viruses in Britain originated in Australia. Detailed genetic sequencing and detective work could help but that work hasn’t been done, and it’s an academic question anyway. Vaccination remains our best defence against the multiple strains that surge during our flu season every year. Adding resources and pressure to calls for improved vaccines rather than where the vaccine target originated from are more likely to help to those who sicken and sometimes die from flu.
13th Jan 2018 - The Guardian

CDC Delays Nuclear-Preparedness Training to Focus on Flu Instead

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control announced that it would delay a nuclear-preparedness teaching session to focus instead on a more quotidian danger: the flu. This year’s influenza season is unusually severe, with a strain that has not been responding well to vaccines. “To date, this influenza season is notable for the sheer volume of flu that most of the United States is seeing at the same time, which can stress health systems,” the CDC said
13th Jan 2018 - New York Magazine

More than 100,000 “at-risk” patients not safe from deadly flu outbreak

In the UK, health bosses have urged vulnerable people to protect themselves from a deadly flu outbreak sweeping the country as figures revealed that almost 120,000 “at-risk” individuals have not been vaccinated across the north and north-east.
13th Jan 2018 - Press and Journal

Mission settles flu vaccine discrimination case involving Christian, Muslim employees

In North Carolina, Mission Hospital has agreed to pay $89,000 and to furnish other relief to settle a discrimination lawsuit involving Christian and Muslim workers who were fired after refusing to take the flu shot because they said it violated their religious beliefs. Mission said the settlement still allowed the hospital to keep a strong flu vaccination policy
13th Jan 2018 - Asheville Citizen-Times

Flu vaccine under scrutiny

In Canada, the growing number of flu cases this season are bringing the contents of the flu shot — and their effectiveness — into question. According to Dr. Allison McGeer, a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Director of Infection Control at Mount Sinai Hospital, flu vaccines work better against the H1N1 strain than H3N2 because the H3N2 virus evolves more quickly.
13th Jan 2018 - Varsity

Surge in flu cases prompts fresh call to make all nurses have jab

In England, nursing staff have been once again urged to ensure they are vaccinated against influenza, while one of England’s most senior doctors has suggested that immunisation should be compulsory in future. The latest focus on vaccination among NHS staff follows a surge last week in cases presenting in primary care and admissions to hospital for flu and other respiratory diseases
12th Jan 2018 - Nursing Times

Aussie flu vaccine: Can the flu jab protect you against symptoms of the killer strain?

In the UK, the flu is spreading rapidly. Dr Ben Coyle, medical director at the Now Healthcare Group, says the flu vaccine can act as protection. “Yes the jab can help. It may not work in all instances because of the possibilities of the viruses mutating, but you definitely won’t be protected if you don’t have it. “It’s still available so get it done!”
12th Jan 2018 - Express.co.uk

Why not all flu vaccines work - and how to make sure you're protected against all strains

Not all vaccines against the deadly flu sweeping the UK protect people against all strains of the illness. Deaths from flu this winter have almost doubled to 93. There are three vaccines on offer - the trivalent vaccine, which doesn't contain protection against the Influenza B flu strain, a quadrivalent jab and a nasal spray, which both do. All of the vaccines offer protection against Aussie flu
12th Jan 2018 - Mirror.co.uk

Flu vaccine only works in 30-40% of cases, researchers say

The flu vaccine used to fight this winter's outbreak is only working in 30-40% of cases, the director of the Worldwide Influenza Centre laboratory in London has told Sky News. Dr John McCauley, director of the laboratory based at the Francis Crick Institute, said the threat posed by H3N2 may have been over-stated, and figures show it is responsible for only one in four cases. But the vaccine intended to control it has not proved as effective as hoped
12th Jan 2018 - Sky News

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 12th Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Brutal flu season leads to talk of a universal vaccine

Experts have speculated this year's vaccine may only be 10 percent effective against a particularly nasty flu strain. The brutal season has many wondering why there isn't a universal vaccine to protect against all strains of the flu. “I think a universal vaccine is possible, but I'm not aware that it's going to happen any time soon,” said Dr. Marc Itskowitz, an Allegheny Health Network internal medicine physician. “Researchers have been working on it for years.”
11th Jan 2018 - Tribune-Review

"Aussie flu"? We can't be sure where flu originates, and that doesn't really matter anyway

Britain’s media have made much of the “Aussie flu” sweeping across the northern hemisphere, but is there evidence the land Down Under is to blame? The UK flu report shows H3N2 is the main virus being detected, but intensive care admissions – a marker of serious disease – show flu B is having a big impact too, in all age groups but especially children.
11th Jan 2018 - The Conversation

Highway 101 closure delays flu vaccine shipments

In California, clinicians at an Atascadero pediatrics clinic said the closure of Highway 101 has prevented them from getting usable flu vaccines. The delay kept the shipment of vaccines from getting to Atascadero until a later date than scheduled, and because vaccines are perishable and were not kept at a regulated window, they have to be returned
11th Jan 2018 - KSBY

Why It's Still Worth Getting a Flu Shot

In any year, even when you’re vaccinated, you can get the flu. The shot is about reducing your risk, not eliminating it. Still, even when the flu vaccine is “less effective,” it’s a good bet. One reason is that “less” and “more” effective are relative terms. We need to be careful about these words and focus more on absolute risks.
11th Jan 2018 - New York Times

Woman who lost daughter to influenza creates foundation to advocate for vaccination

In the U.S., deaths from influenza are increasing as hospitals and doctors offices are inundated with sick people. One woman who lost her daughter to influenza says she has made it her life's work to make sure everyone gets vaccinated each year. Joan Mann said she never expected to lose her daughter, Kendra Mann O’Brien, at the age of 36. Joan launched the Kendra's Legacy Foundation in 2013. Volunteers go to elementary schools to conduct flu shot clinics.
11th Jan 2018 - KMBZ

This Year's Flu Is Especially Miserable. Here's Why

“It’s been a bad flu year,” Scott Hensley, an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania, told The Daily Beast. In October, Hensley co-authored a paper in PNAS about why the flu vaccine this year didn’t protect us as well as we’d hoped. Hensley said the H3N2 fiasco is not new—he said it happened last year as well—and that it’s a strong case for the universal flu vaccine.
11th Jan 2018 - Daily Beast

Flu likely to peak this week or next, say health experts

In Ireland, the incidence of flu in the population is likely to peak this week or possibly next as public health experts confirm between 18,000 and 20,000 people are likely to have suffered the virus last week. Calls to GPs about influenza-related illnesses were at their highest last week since the 2010/2011 season.
11th Jan 2018 - Irish Times

Why do the majority of NHS staff not get the flu vaccine?

In order to halt the spread of the flu, the UK government recommends that people who qualify for the vaccination take it up. Of these groups, it seems that NHS workers have the lowest rate of take-up, with just over 40% of staff - including those who have contact with patients and those who don't - having had the jab. Sir Bruce Keogh, national medical director of NHS England, has called for a "serious debate" over whether NHS staff should be forced to have the vaccination
11th Jan 2018 - BBC

This year's flu shot may be ineffective, but you should still get it, argues Dr. Brian Goldman

This flu season is turning into a particularly nasty one as Canada, the U.S. and other parts of the world battle epidemic levels of the illness. The vaccine used in Australia was only 10 per cent effective, says Dr. Brian Goldman and it's still unclear if this will be the case in Canada. "The CDC — Center for Disease Control in the United States — is still hopeful that it could be as much as 30, 40 per cent effective. But I wouldn't be surprised if it's that ineffective." He argues though that there's a growing belief that even in seasons when a flu shot is relatively ineffective, getting the vaccine boosts something called cell-mediated immunity.
10th Jan 2018 - CBC.ca

The seasonal flu outbreak 2017/18 has begun

The Robert Koch Institute report that during the first reporting week of 2018, there were 1,326 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases reported to the RKI. The age group particularly affected so far are the over 59-year-olds. They predict reports of cases will now rise sharply as the season takes off
10th Jan 2018 - Gesundheitsstadt Berlin

Is Australian flu really the makings of a pandemic – or is it just a viral news story?

The number of flu-related admissions to hospitals in England has tripled over the last few weeks, with one in four patients suffering Australian flu. Public Health England has admitted to around 48 flu-related deaths this week, up from 23 the week before. However, official figures demonstrate that Australian flu is unlikely to be the sole cause. While provisional figures published on 4 January do show an increase in influenza-related hospital admissions, it’s an increase in line with expectations for this winter period. Public health officials across the UK have reiterated that the most effective preventative measure is to get the flu jab
9th Jan 2018 - New Statesman

ASL says that during the current influenza epidemic health experts need to take great care in the use of antibiotics

Health authorities have launched an information campaign for the correct use of antibiotics with a section on health websites containing useful information for users with the aim of countering the phenomenon of antibiotic-resistance. Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health problem in all European countries, so much so that international institutions such as the WHO have openly sounded an alarm about the threat posed by antibiotic resistance to humanity
11th Jan 2018 - Brindisi Report

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 11th Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

CDC official on why the flu is near-epidemic, peaking early this year

A dangerous flu has been spreading rapidly across the U.S., escalating flu season earlier than usual, and to near-epidemic levels, according to the CDC. Dr. Daniel B. Jernigan from the CDC, joined "GMA" to address the concerns and misconceptions about this year's flu cycle.
10th Jan 2018 - ABC News

Pharmacy told to wait two weeks for more flu vaccine

In Ireland, a pharmacist who ordered supplies of 20 flu vaccines from the HSE on January 6 was told they would not arrive for two weeks - despite the current outbreak. Ultan Molloy had to take to social media, tweeting Health Minister Simon Harris to get a more urgent response, but the vaccines will still not be delivered until next Monday.
10th Jan 2018 - Independent.ie

"Aussie flu": Australia not to blame for the virus spreading to UK, experts say

Aussie flu is a variant of the H3N2 subtype of the influenza A virus. It was dubbed "Aussie flu" because it was the same type observed during the Australian winter, in which more than 170,000 people contracted the flu. Professor John Oxford, a virologist at Queen Mary University of London, said he was not surprised people were concerned. However, he said Australia was not to blame for it.
10th Jan 2018 - ABC Online

The flu season has now started, the next few weeks are crucial

The first cases of flu began to be confirmed at the start of the New Year in the district of Kulmbach. "On January 2, the first proven influenza was reported to us.There is now about one confirmed case a day.The flu cases are still manageable, but you do get to realize that in this area the peak seasonal flu season begins now," said local health expert Camelia Sancu. The Robert Koch Institute in Berlin expects to see, over the next few weeks, the onset of a full flu epidemic in Germany.
10th Jan 2018 - Frankenpost

Is It Time for a Universal Influenza Vaccine? The Virus Is Getting Deadlier

If you haven’t gotten your flu shot, experts say you should go get it now, even though some have estimated the flu vaccine may only be 10 percent effective against this year’s most common strains. We could be doing better than 10 percent, with a universal flu vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci and his colleagues recently wrote a paper explaining the importance of a universal flu vaccine for the New England Journal of Medicine
10th Jan 2018 - Newsweek.com

MSP has managed to vaccinate more than 4m people against influenza

The Ministry of Health in Ecuador has managed to reach more than 4m people in its vaccination campaign to protect the most vulnerable at risk groups in the country against influenza
10th Jan 2018 - El Telegrafo

Flu vaccination campaign has hit 85% coverage of target group - ISEM

Almost 2 months after the start of the flu vaccination campaign in Mexico the Ministry of Health says it has managed to reach 85% of the the most at risk target group that it was seeking to protect, with more than 2.1m doses distributed.
10th Jan 2018 - Milenio.com

Vaccinations against the flu are still important - flu epidemic expected to hit soon

The winter has been mild so far, but the peak of the flu season is yet to come. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the beginning of the annual influenza wave is expected to start in Germany during the coming weeks
10th Jan 2018 - T-online.de

36,919 doses to fight against influenza

The head of the National Immunization Strategy (ENI), Carmen Varela, indicated that the vaccination campaign began on January 5. The doses are intended for all children under six months to those who are one day after their fifth birthdays. Varela said that among the people who should be vaccinated are pregnant women, people with catastrophic illnesses, health personnel and elderly people.
10th Jan 2018 - El Diario Ecuador

Flu Epidemic Expected in Bulgaria by the end of January

Two big flu outbreaks are expected in January 2018 in Bulgaria. The AH3N2 flu virus, more popular under the name Hong Kong strain and the AH1N1 swine-flu virus. Doctors from Bulgaria warn that now it is too late for vaccines. The vaccines should be applied in the period September-October in order to offer adequate protection
10th Jan 2018 - EU Scoop

The flu costs Americans $10.4 billion in medical expenses and another $7 billion in lost productivity

The flu costs the U.S. an average of $10.4 billion annually for medical expenses like hospitalizations in addition to $7 billion a year in sick days and lost productivity. This year’s aggressive strain of illness could cost us even more, doctors say. The CDC is encouraging Americans to get their flu shots if they have not yet.
10th Jan 2018 - Market Watch

H1N1 flu not lethal, but prevention vital: expert

In Pakistan, Karachi has regularly reported H1N1 influenza cases in the months of December and January since 2009, but this particular strain is not causing any severe infection, as its mortality rate is only 0.1 per cent, or one in a thousand, an expert said, urging people however to get the flu vaccine
10th Jan 2018 - The News International

Health chiefs insisting flu vaccine programme will protect against new strain of the virus

Health chiefs in Northern Ireland are insisting their flu vaccine programme will protect against a new strain of the virus. It was reported in the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday that authorities are concerned over the ‘B Yamagata’ strain because the vaccine available there is not designed to protect against it. The vaccine does deal with the widely reported Aussie flu, which is an ‘A strain’ of the virus. However, the Public Health Agency says a nasal spray being offered to children as part of their seasonal flu vaccination programme does protect against the B Yamagata strain.
10th Jan 2018 - Belfast Live

French flu warning: ‘Lives at risk’ as virus spread by people without any noticeable signs

French flu symptoms are similar to the deadly Aussie flu viral infection, and has killed a reported 30 people in France. The contagious illness could be spread by people that aren’t showing any signs or symptoms. The warning came after the French Ministry of Health said the flu epidemic would continue to spread across the country.
10th Jan 2018 - Express.co.uk

Flu vaccine seems effective in France

In France, it seems that over half the flu infections so far this year have been caused by an influenza A type strain, which was included in the flu vaccine; 77 % of the flu virus detected so far in France are A (H1N1), and 10 % are H3N2. A French specialist expects the flu vaccine effectiveness to be around 60 to 70%
10th Jan 2018 - Ouest France

Did President Donald Trump Get the Flu Shot?

In the U.S., multiple requests to the White House about the President’s inoculation status went unanswered. In 2015, during an interview, Trump was asked if he gets the flu shot every year, and said no: “I’ve never had one… Thus far I’ve never had the flu. I don’t like the idea of injecting bad stuff into [my] body, which is basically what they do…I’ve never had a flu shot, and I’ve never had the flu…I have friends that religiously get the flu shot and then they get the flu… I’ve seen a lot of reports that the last flu shot is virtually totally ineffective.”
10th Jan 2018 - Time

Better design needed for flu vaccine, experts say

In Canada, infection experts say we need to improve the technology behind the current, imperfect flu vaccines that offer less protection than expected because they’re grown in eggs. Moving out of egg-based vaccines would improve protection, said Dr. Brian Ward, professor of infectious diseases and microbiology at the research institute of the McGill University Health Centre.
9th Jan 2018 - Montreal Gazette

The anti-vaccine movement shows why Facebook is broken

Naomi Smith, a sociologist at the Federation University Australia, spent a year observing Facebook users who share, like and comment on thoroughly debunked conspiracy theories on the safety of vaccines. In a recent study analyzing hundreds of thousands of anti-vaxxer comments, she and colleague Tim Graham illustrated just how dangerous this digital world has become.
9th Jan 2018 - Washington Post

Vaccination campaign against the A(H1N1) virus expects to reach 4 million Ecuadorians

The National Government said on Monday that it hopes to get 3,900,000 people vaccinated aganst influenza in the coming campaign. Focusing in on the most at risk above all else "Any type of health center, type A, B or C, are the health centers that are supplied with this vaccine. The vaccine is targeting three million 900 thousand inhabitants. It's totally free, "said Vice Minister of Governance and Public Health Surveillance, Inti Quevedo.
8th Jan 2018 - Agencia Pública de Noticias del Ecuador

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 10th Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Hospitals struggle to battle peak flu season amid widespread IV bag shortage

The flu season is straining resources at hospitals nationwide with the CDC reporting the flu is widespread in 46 states. Some hospitals are setting up emergency tents to handle the high volume of patients while others are dealing with a shortage of IV bags after Hurricane Maria cut power to manufacturing plants in Puerto Rico
9th Jan 2018 - CBS News

IV bag shortage has hospitals scrambling to treat flu

9th Jan 2018 - Fox Business

IV bag shortage has hospitals scrambling to treat flu

9th Jan 2018 - Stat News

Shock outbreak of new flu strain ‘overtakes Aussie flu’ in Ireland and accounts for 60 to 70 per cent of current cases

An unexpected outburst of a flu strain unforseen by health bosses is rapidly spreading across Ireland. The influenza B Yanmagata strain is not completely covered by the only flu jab currently on offer to at-risk patients in Ireland. The jab which provides more protection against Yanmagata was not purchased by the Health Service Executive. The HSE reportedly confined its stocks of vaccine this winter to the trivalent flu jab
9th Jan 2018 - The Irish Sun

Unexpected strain of flu - not covered by vaccine - threatens further chaos in hospitals

9th Jan 2018 - Irish Independent

'B' strain of the flu which is not covered by vaccine is spreading

9th Jan 2018 - Herald.ie

Experts decry lack of flu pandemic readiness, commitment

Armed with 1940s-vintage flu vaccine technology and supported by only anemic funding for developing truly revolutionary vaccines, the world is woefully unprepared for the next influenza pandemic, and the Trump administration is ignoring the problem, two experts wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece
9th Jan 2018 - CIDRAP

We’re Not Ready for a Flu Pandemic

8th Jan 2018 - New York Times

French flu warning: Symptoms of virus that’s just as deadly as Aussie flu

French flu is another type of the influenza virus - mainly H1N1 and some H3N3 cases, according to Now Healthcare Group’s Medical Director, Dr Ben Coyle. The flu virus will have similar symptoms to the deadly Aussie flu, he said. The warning came after the French Ministry of Health warned that the flu epidemic would continue to grow in France
10th Jan 2018 - The Daily Express

Turns out the 'Aussie flu' isn't responsible for deaths in Scotland

Medical authorities in Scotland say the killer strain of flu sweeping the country did not originate from Australia and disputed media reporting of the number of lives claimed by the infection. But Scotland's deputy chief medical officer Doctor Gregor Smith did not provide what authorities believe is the true number of deaths caused by the flu, which has swept across the entire United Kingdom
10th Jan 2018 - Sydney Morning Herald

GPs Are Going Above And Beyond To Make Sure People Have The Flu Jab

UK healthcare professionals are working around the clock to ensure people are vaccinated against the flu this year - particularly as cases of Australian flu are on the rise. The NHS confirmed staff have been actively encouraging people to take up the vaccine since September, however on a local scale it appears GPs are ramping things up a notch.
9th Jan 2018 - Huffington Post UK

Vaccination primary public intervention against influenza: WHO expert

People should consider vaccination as the primary intervention against influenza, as the northern hemisphere influenza season starts increasing in many temperate countries, a WHO expert advised. According to Dr. Zhang Wenqing, director of WHO Global Influenza Program, influenza vaccines, which have been used every year in the past dozens of years and for which the technologies are mature, are licensed by national regulatory agencies and safe. It's the primary intervention to reduce influenza morbidity and mortality
9th Jan 2018 - Xinhuanet.com

Vulnerable urged to get flu jab as NHS feels pressure of winter

Health experts have reiterated calls for vulnerable people to get their flu jab amid increasing winter pressure on the NHS. Dr Richard Pebody, acting head of the respiratory diseases department at Public Health England, said: “Our data shows that more people are visiting GPs with flu symptoms and we are seeing more people admitted to hospitals with the flu." “The vaccine is the best defence we have against the spread of flu and it isn’t too late to get vaccinated"
9th Jan 2018 - News and Star

Healthcare staff flu vaccination uptake too low, Shona Robison admits

In Scotland, Health Secretary Shona Robison has acknowledged that the uptake of flu vaccination among healthcare staff is too low. Ms Robison said that the uptake rate was “lower than we would want it to be” despite the efforts of health boards coupled with national resources and publicity campaigns.
9th Jan 2018 - Aberdeen Evening Express

Aussie flu 'to kill 750,000 people' Fears deadly epidemic will wipe out Brits

A deadly flu pandemic raging out of control could kill up to 750,000 people in Britain, the Government’s disaster planners have warned. About 155,000 could die in 21 days at the height of the flu outbreak, which includes the devastating Aussie virus. Prof Robert Dingwall, from Nottingham Trent University, fears the pandemic could kill as many as the Hong Kong flu outbreak in 1968, when a million people died worldwide.
9th Jan 2018 - Daily Star

HSE says current prevalence of two strains of flu is unusual

In Ireland, the HSE has said the current prevalence of both A and B flu viruses is “unusual”, and that this had only happened three times in the last 20 years. Dr Kevin Kelleher, the HSE’s assistant national director for health protection, said “normally our seasons are predominated by the A virus, and the B virus comes along at the tail of the flu season, so this is unusual”. Dr Kelleher confirmed the HSE purchased stocks of the trivalent flu jab following a recommendation by the WHO, which contains protection against three strains (two A strains and one B strain) of flu virus.
9th Jan 2018 - Irish Times

Worried about Australian flu? Take the long view

The so-called Australian flu is nothing more or less than seasonal flu. Seasonal flu infects roughly a billion people worldwide each year. Of those, around 5 million have severe cases and 500,000 die, so it’s not trivial, even if the vast majority of cases are mild. But Australian flu is not a pandemic for the simple reason that H3N2 is not new.
9th Jan 2018 - The Guardian

Dumfries and Galloway 'Aussie flu' reassurance offered

In Scotland, a health board which has seen a number of cases of "Aussie flu" has offered a public reassurance over its impact. NHS Dumfries and Galloway said it was a "standard strain" which was historically commonplace in Scotland. The H3N2 strain has been dubbed Aussie flu due to the problems it has recently caused in Australia. Elaine Ross, of the region's infection control team, said anyone who had been given a flu vaccination had a "good chance" of avoiding it.
9th Jan 2018 - BBC

DHEC urges pregnant women to get a flu shot in South Carolina

Public health officials in South Carolina issued an advisory Tuesday asking pregnant women to get the flu vaccine. A recent panel survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates only 36 percent of pregnant women had received a flu vaccine through November.
9th Jan 2018 - Post and Courier

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 9th Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Influenza vaccines - not all of them are as effective as they should be this year

A classic flu vaccine cocktail contains inactive, fragmented viruses from three strains. Twice an A-strain and once a B-strain. In the current season 2017/18 these are: A / Michigan / 45/2015 (H1N1) A / Hong Kong / 4801/2014 (H3N2) B / Brisbane / 60/2008 (Victoria). This year, however, a B virus has prevailed, which few have suspected. Yamagata is the culprit. 85 percent of all flu symptoms go to his account. Only those who received the Fluarix Tetra vaccine are also protected against B / Phuket / 3073/2013 (Yamagata).
8th Jan 2018 - Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF)

There is no miracle cure against the flu

To date, there is no truly efficient treatment against the flu: antivirals are available in France, but often not needed as it is a matter of waiting a few days. When medicines like Tamiflu might help, they need to be given within 48 hours of the infection starting. For now, flu vaccination is the best way to protect oneself against the virus
8th Jan 2018 - Le Figaro

Flu Vaccination Coverage Among Healthcare Personnel Was 67.6 Percent for Early Season 2017-18

In the U.S., the CDC reports that early-season 2017–18 influenza vaccination coverage among healthcare personnel was 67.6%, similar to early-season coverage during the 2016–17 season (68.5%). During the previous two seasons, flu vaccination coverage increased by 10 to 12 percentage points from early season to the end of the season.
8th Jan 2018 - Infection Control Today

Amid flu surge, Indiana residents urged to get flu shots

Indiana's health commissioner is urging Hoosiers to get their flu shots and take other precautions amid a surge in flu-related illnesses and deaths. State Health Commissioner Kris Box said Monday that anyone who hasn't received a flu shot should do so soon because the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent influenza, decrease its severity and prevent flu-related deaths.
8th Jan 2018 - WHIO

‘Flu vaccine can protect against strains seen in Australia’ - Public Health Agency

In the UK, the Public Health Agency is urging people who are eligible for the free flu vaccination to get it without delay. The call comes as the strains of flu seen during Australia’s winter season, particularly A(H3N2), are increasing in prevalence on this side of the world.
8th Jan 2018 - Newry Times

‘The problem child of seasonal flu’: Beware this winter’s virus

H3N2 is the problem child of seasonal flu. It causes more deaths than the other influenza A virus, H1N1, as well as flu B viruses. It’s a quirky virus that seems, at every turn, to misbehave and make life miserable for the people who contract it, the scientists trying to keep an eye on it, and the drug companies struggling to produce an effective vaccine against it.
8th Jan 2018 - Stat News

Spanish Flu killed millions of people but when will the next pandemic strike?

Along with concern over the virulence of any future flu virus, medical experts also have to contend with the fact they don’t know when, or where, a flu pandemic will occur. However, the WHO and a lot of public health services like Public Health England and CDC in America are looking out for it. The WHO is actively doing surveillance around the world which would hopefully give us a bit more warning of an impending pandemic.
8th Jan 2018 - Yorkshire Post

NHS's real problem is underfunding not Australian flu, says virologist

A leading virologist has said there has been no major outbreak of Australian flu in the UK and its threat is obscuring the real problem facing the NHS, which is underfunding. Explaining his view that the impact of the Australian flu had been overstated, John Oxford pointed out that the official figures showed cases were split between different strains. He was more positive about the impact of the vaccination programme. There has been greater uptake of flu jabs this winter among over-65s, young children and pregnant women, and also among health workers with direct patient contact, although two out of five of this group had not had it by the end of November.
8th Jan 2018 - The Guardian

What is 'Aussie' flu and should we be worried?

In the UK, hospital admissions and GP visits for influenza have seen a sharp rise going into 2018, but are still comparable to the previous winter and are nowhere near as high as in 2008-09 when the swine flu pandemic hit the UK. Dr Richard Pebody, from Public Health England, said: "This season's flu vaccine should be providing reasonable protection, similar to last winter. Last year the vaccine did not give quite as good protection for the elderly for H3N2."
8th Jan 2018 - BBC

Ecuador will vaccinate 3.9 million people against influenza

The Ministry of Public Health (MSP) reported on January 6, 2017, that it has a strong supply of medicines necessary for the treatment of influenza in Ecuador, where it is planning to vaccinate some 3,963,359 people. According to information from the MSP, in 2017 there were 364 cases of influenza which were treated in several of the main Ecuadorian health facilities. Of that number, 90% of these flu cases were mild; with only 10% treated at the hospital level due to the severity of the case, Oseltamivir is normally used in Ecuador to treat the patient.
7th Jan 2018 - Metro Ecuador

UK braces itself for French flu epidemic - NHS issues alert

UK NHS workers are being urged to have flu jabs as the deadly flu reached high levels in France. Figures show as few as one in three workers have been vaccinated at some hospitals. According to the Coventry Telegraph, NHS trusts are failing to get medical workers to have flu jabs amid the warnings that the French epidemic could spread to Britain.
8th Jan 2018 - Derby Telegraph

NHS alert as UK braces itself for French flu epidemic

8th Jan 2018 - Nottingham Post

Deadly French flu could hit UK as NHS issue health warning

8th Jan 2018 - Birmingham Mail

Could all NHS staff be forced to have the flu jab? Britain's top doctor calls for 'serious debate' following outbreak of 'Aussie' virus

England's top doctor has called for a ‘serious debate’ over whether NHS staff should be forced to have the flu jab. Sir Bruce Keogh, national medical director of NHS England, said thousands of healthcare workers were unwittingly putting patients and their own families at risk. Latest official figures show that 40 per cent of frontline staff have not been vaccinated.
8th Jan 2018 - Daily Mail

Flu vaccinations: should they become mandatory for NHS staff?

8th Jan 2018 - Royal College of Nursing

Mandatory flu jabs for all NHS workers must be considered in wake of crisis, medical director says

7th Jan 2018 - Daily Telegraph

Flu jab "must be mandatory for NHS staff"

8th Jan 2018 - The Times

Aussie flu: NHS staff could be ‘forced’ to have jab to protect patients as illness spreads

8th Jan 2018 - The Daily Express

Bad day, mate: why Australian flu is tearing through the UK

In the UK, the spread of Australian flu is potentially the worst outbreak in 50 years. It’s why so many hospitals are struggling to cope. A vaccine is still available, although it can take up to two weeks to kick in and there are fears that it is losing its effectiveness with elderly people.
8th Jan 2018 - The Guardian

How you can protect yourself against ‘Aussie flu’ – 6 things you must do now

8th Jan 2018 - The Sun

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 8th Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Flu vaccine may not be very efficient against this year's dominant flu strain

In Canada, the head of Public Health said that the flu vaccine this year might be well be ineffective against a particularly nasty influenza A strain. In Quebec, the ERs are full of people infected with that strain, H3N2. She said that besides the flu shot, there are antivirals available to fight the virus, such as Tamiflu and zanamivir
7th Jan 2018 - ICI.Radio-Canada.ca

Flu vaccine may have low effectiveness against dominant strain, Canada's top public health doctor says

6th Jan 2018 - CBC.ca

Cali Mayoralty team has 11,000 flu vaccines ready in health centres across the region

Allexander Duran, health secretary, said that "taking into account that we knew we were going to have a cold season, we took the decision to stock up on our supply of vaccines against influenza." 'It is our goal to see to it that those most at risk are protected,' he concluded
5th Jan 2018 - 90 Minutos

How Australian flu outbreak compares to the swine flu pandemic

Britain seems to be in the grip of ‘Australian flu’, with offices and schools decimated as people are struck down by the virus. But the good news is that it won’t match the devastating impact of swine flu, and is extremely unlikely to reach pandemic level. Dr Jeff Foster, who has a private GP practice at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull, explained that the flu jab has helped to control the spread of the virus.
5th Jan 2018 - Metro

Winter flu heaps pressure on NHS as officials warn jab ineffective against most common strain

The flu jab most frequently given to adults may not offer protection against the most common strain of the virus, Public Health England has warned. In a letter to GPs in the south west, the body warned that people could still get ill if they have had the “trivalent” flu jab, which protects against three strains of the illness. It warned practices that most adults and staff have had the three-strain jab and this is likely to include hundreds of thousands of NHS staff vaccinated as part of a drive to limit the impact of staff sickness over winter.
5th Jan 2018 - The Independent

Spike in flu cases causes shortage of some meds

In North Carolina, doctors are seeing a spike in Type A flu and it's creating a shortage of some medicines used to treat it. Doctors are giving prescriptions for Tamiflu but said it's been sold out in many pharmacies.
5th Jan 2018 - WSOC Charlotte

ISSSTE has organised the distribution of 1,268,000 flu jabs to those most in need

By December, 65 percent of the target flu vaccination group had been reached by health authorities in Mexico and it is expected that by the end of the winter season this group will be fully covered. The IISSSTE gave out 1,268,000 flu shots between October and December 2017, these were drawn from the two million doses that were available, to prevent cases of seasonal influenza season 100 percent will have been covered.
6th Jan 2018 - Periodico a.m.

Calls to make free flu jab "a priority"

In Scotland, adults eligible for the flu jab are being urged to have the free vaccination as the “best defence” against the illness. Just over four in 10 (41%) of those aged under 65, who are considered “at risk”, have had their flu jab this winter. The uptake level among pregnant women with other risk factors is 57.5% and 44% in pregnant women without other risk factors, Health Protection Scotland data showed.
6th Jan 2018 - The Scotsman

Doctors and nurses urged to get flu jab amid warnings that a French epidemic could spread to Britain

In the UK, NHS trusts are failing to get medical workers to have flu jabs amid warnings that a French epidemic could spread to Britain. Health officials are pleading with NHS staff to have the jab as figures show as few as one in three workers have been vaccinated at some hospitals. Health officials also urged members of the public who are eligible for the jab to come forward.
6th Jan 2018 - Daily Telegraph

Less than 40% of nursing staff take flu vaccine

Less than 40% of Ireland's nursing staff have had the flu vaccine — and influenza season is set to peak next week. “What’s very interesting is, with nursing two to three years ago, [the vaccine uptake] was down in the low teens, now it’s over 30%. We’ve seen a big change,” said the HSE’s assistant national director for public health, Dr Kevin Kelleher. “The evidence from the UK is that if we carry on like the UK, in three or four years’ time, we should be well up into the 50s.” Asked if hospital staff could be forced to take the vaccine, he said the HSE uses an incentive approach
7th Jan 2018 - Irish Examiner

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 5th Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

The flu jab doesn't work: Officials admit that a vaccine already dished out to thousands of patients may be targeting the wrong strain

Public Health England has announced the trivalent vaccine is not effective against a common type of influenza B which is currently circulating. An analysis of 25 cases of influenza B revealed 21 of them have been caused by the B/Yamagata type - which isn't covered by the cheaper jab. In a letter to GPs, PHE suggested only adults given the quadrivalent vaccine would face protection from the emerging B strain.
4th Jan 2018 - Daily Mail

A Strain Of Flu Not Included In This Year's Jab Is Spreading - Here's How To Prevent It

4th Jan 2018 - Huffington Post

Flu outbreak feared after jabs targeted wrong strain

4th Jan 2018 - The Times

Flu jab failures inflame NHS crisis as 24 hospital trusts declare "black alert" emergency

4th Jan 2018 - Express.co.uk

Public Health Agency urges vaccination over Aussie flu risk

In the UK, the Public Health Agency is urging people eligible for free flu vaccination to get it straight away. It comes after the Republic of Ireland confirmed its first flu deaths from a strain - A(H3N2) - known as Aussie flu. This year's flu vaccine has been developed to tackle the main strains circulating this season, including A(H3N2). The PHA says it is essential for those eligible to get vaccinated annually
4th Jan 2018 - BBC

Aussie flu vaccine: Where to get it and how much will it cost?

4th Jan 2018 - Metro

Aussie flu vs "normal" flu and why you should get vaccinated this winter

4th Jan 2018 - Cornwall Live

Influenza Reaches Southern Manitoba

In Canada, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Southern Health says it does not appear this year's flu vaccine was a great match with the strain of influenza circulating through Manitoba. "The signs so far would suggest that in North America and in Manitoba probably we're not going to have a terrific match this year but we really won't know that until the end of the year," states Dr. Michael Routledge.
4th Jan 2018 - SteinbachOnline.com

Current flu vaccine for Northern Hemisphere includes "Michigan" strain

In Michigan, people are urged to get their flu shot. The 2017-18 vaccine is aimed at three specific strains of influenza, including A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09, A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2) and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (B/Victoria lineage). The Michigan strain replaces the California strain used in the 2016-17 vaccine.
4th Jan 2018 - MLive.com

French Health Minister in favour of compulsory flu vaccination

In France the Health Minister has explained her prevention strategy for the next 5 years. She is in favour of compulsory flu vaccination for healthcare personnel, as a way of protecting more at-risk group through a wider coverage of generally healthy people
4th Jan 2018 - Ouest France

British PM May apologizes as overwhelmed hospitals cancel non-emergency operations

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May apologized on Thursday to tens of thousands of patients whose operations were canceled to free up staff and beds to deal with emergency patients. A flu outbreak, colder weather and high levels of respiratory illnesses have put hospitals in England under strain with many operating at or near full capacity.
4th Jan 2018 - Reuters

NYU Winthrop Hospital -- First Hospital In Nassau/Suffolk County To Make Flu Vaccine Mandatory For Employees

In the U.S., NYU Winthrop Hospital announced that 99.3% of its more than 8,750 employees were inoculated against influenza in what is believed to be the first time ever that a hospital in Nassau or Suffolk Counties made the vaccination mandatory among its employees.
3rd Jan 2018 - Business Journal

£10 million hub to tackle global vaccination challenges

In the UK, established with almost £10 million of funding by the Department for Health, the new Future Vaccine Manufacturing Hub is led by Imperial College London and features four other UK universities and three UK institutes. The hub will collaborate with the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturing Network on manufacturing projects in India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Uganda and China.
3rd Jan 2018 - University of Bristol

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 4th Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Hong Kong health authority appeals for vigilance against increasing seasonal influenza activity

The health authority of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has appealed to the public for heightened vigilance as the region will enter the winter influenza season soon. As of Dec. 26, 2017, about 369,100 and 244,600 doses of seasonal influenza vaccines had been administered via the Government Vaccination Programme (free vaccination) and the Vaccination Subsidy Scheme (subsidized vaccination) respectively, increasing by 10 percent and 3.4 percent respectively from the same period of the 2016-17 season.
3rd Jan 2018 - Xinhua.net

CHP appeals for heightened vigilance against increasing seasonal influenza activity

3rd Jan 2018 - Hong Kong Government

Vaccine warning as Australian ‘flu threatens UK

The elderly, pregnant women and children with chronic illness in the UK are being urged to get vaccinated as the threat of the Australian ‘flu reaching our shores heightens. A Public Health England spokeswoman said: “The current ‘flu vaccine is still the best defence we have against the virus. We therefore encourage all those who are eligible to take up the offer of the vaccine.” The warning comes following reports of several deaths in Ireland of people who contracted the H3N2 strain.
2nd Jan 2018 - iNews

Vaccine plea after "Aussie flu" deaths in the Republic

People in Northern Ireland who are eligible for the free flu vaccination have been urged to get it without delay after a number of deaths in the Republic. There have been up to 10 deaths in the Republic so far and doctors in Northern Ireland are not being complacent. However, the good news is that this year's flu vaccine has been developed to tackle the main strains circulating this season, including A(H3N2)
3rd Jan 2018 - Belfast Telegraph

Wrong flu vaccine distributed in Taiwan

As the flu season reaches its peak with nearly 100,000 struck in Taiwan last week, this year's government funded free vaccines are less effective against the influenza virus as the WHO had predicted the wrong strain, though they can still offer some protection, according to the CDC. Despite being directed at different strains, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang said that the vaccine can still provide up to 30 percent protection
3rd Jan 2018 - Taiwan News

Australian flu: Health chiefs call on people to prepare for a possible surge in cases

Health chiefs in Northern Ireland are calling on people to prepare for a possible surge in Australian flu cases. The Public Health Agency says people who are eligible for the free flu vaccination should “get it without delay” as strains of flu seen in Australia are “increasing in prevalence on this side of the world”. The PHA says this year’s flu vaccine “has been developed to tackle the main strains which are circulating this season, including A(H3N2)”
3rd Jan 2018 - Belfast Live

Flu epidemic could derail health service

In Ireland, as a record 656 patients waited for a hospital bed, nurses warned that the health service could buckle under pressure from the flu epidemic. Newly-appointed INMO general secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, has sought an urgent meeting with the HSE to put a plan in place. “What I am trying to determine from them (HSE) is what they are going to do, if, God forbid, the flu epidemic takes a hold in a way that we just couldn’t cope with,” said Ms Ní Sheaghdha. “I am just not sure that the HSE have a plan. We have to be assured that they do, in fact, have one.”
3rd Jan 2018 - Irish Examiner

More than 60,000 doses of flu vaccine acquired to immunize vulnerable groups across the state

Osvaldo Servín Monroy, Head of the Department of Epidemiology at ISSEMyM, said that the vaccination program for this season was targetting 75 percent coverage, and it would be concentrating on groups most vulnerable: children, pregnant women and seniors 60 years old and above
2nd Jan 2018 - La Neta Noticias

Never, ever drive under the influenza, warns council

In Ireland, motorists suffering from cold or flu have been warned “driving under the influenza” could be as dangerous as drink-driving. If you are not well enough to undertake a journey, it could be dangerous for yourself and other road users, Mayo County Council said. Ireland is currently in the middle of a flu outbreak, which is not expected to peak for another three weeks.
2nd Jan 2018 - Irish Times

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 3rd Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

How effective is the influenza vaccine?

While the effectiveness of the vaccine may vary, recent studies show that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness between 40% and 60% among the general population, during the seasons when most of the flu viruses circulate. In general, current influenza vaccines tend to work better against influenza B and influenza A (H1N1) viruses and offer less protection against influenza A (H3N2) viruses. The effectiveness of the influenza vaccine (or its ability to prevent it) can vary widely from season to season. The effectiveness of the vaccine can also vary depending on the person vaccinated.
2nd Jan 2018 - El Tiempo Latino

1,600 clinic patients notified flu shots, other vaccines may be ineffective

In Indiana, the Community Health Network recently mailed letters to 1,600 patients, warning them flu shots and other vaccines they received at central Indiana clinics may not have been fully effective. Community Health Network said they found a problem with the temperature control system.
2nd Jan 2018 - WRTV Indianapolis

The Peak of the Flu Epidemic will be in a Month

In Bulgaria, the peak of the flu is expected to be at the end of January - early February, the director of the National Center for Contagious and Parasitic Diseases Professor Todor Kantardzhiev told Nova TV.
2nd Jan 2018 - Novinite

Flu Vaccine Effectiveness During a Season With Mixed Outbreaks of Four Influenza Viruses in Canada

The Serious Outcomes Surveillance (SOS) Network was established to monitor seasonal influenza complications among hospitalized Canadian adults and to assess the effectiveness of influenza vaccination against severe outcomes. A prospective, multicenter, test-negative case-control study evaluated the VE of trivalent influenza vaccine in the prevention of laboratory-confirmed influenza-hospitalization in adults aged ≥16 years and adults aged 16–64 years
2nd Jan 2018 - Infection Control Today

UMass researcher helps predict the timing and the peak of the flu

To advance the science of forecasting infectious diseases, the U.S. CDC has been hosting a competition in which researchers use social media, as well as data from CDC’s routine flu surveillance systems, to predict the timing, peak, and intensity of the flu season. For this flu season’s competition, University of Massachusetts Amherst biostatistician Nicholas Reich joined forces with Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, and a group at Los Alamos National Laboratory in a group they named the FluSight Network. The group’s strategy is to submit a single model to the CDC that combines all of their models together. To create these models, the network studies climate data as well as recent digital trends from Twitter, Google, and Wikipedia
2nd Jan 2018 - Boston Globe

Some Bad Flu News: H3N2 is a Major Player this Year

So far this flu season, influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been predominant in the U.S. This particular strain is more concerning than others. Previous flu seasons dominated by H3N2 have been more severe, especially among young children and older adults. Between the years 2003 to 2013, the three flu seasons that were dominated by H3N2 strains of the flu had the highest mortality rates
2nd Jan 2018 - ACSH

Canada: peak of the flu epidemic expected in January

In Canada, the peak of the flu epidemic is expected to happen in January. Quebec has not been particularly badly affected so far, however, it seems that the worst is yet to come and people are advised to get vaccinated as it is not too late
2nd Jan 2018 - Radio Canada

Flu season could be more severe because of 2 strains vaccine doesn't cover

The flu season in the Greater Toronto Area in Canada has been fairly mild so far this year, but one expert says it could get much more severe before it's over, because of two strains of influenza that this season's vaccine doesn't cover. According to Dr. Naveed Mohammad, vice president of medical affairs at William Osler, the week of Dec. 17 to Dec. 23 saw almost twice as many confirmed flu cases in the GTA than in the previous week. "We have been preparing for the surge in influenza for a number of months," he told CBC Toronto. "Unfortunately, we feel we may have not peaked yet." That's because this year's vaccine may not effectively protect against two strains of flu, called H3N2 and the Influenza B virus
2nd Jan 2018 - cbc.ca

Vaccine shake-up plan after flu spike in North Queensland

Patients could be encouraged to get two flu vaccines instead of just one after North Queensland recorded a huge spike in the number of cases last year. The Townsville Hospital and Health Service confirmed 2865 cases of influenza between January 1 and December 17 last year. That’s more than 1300 cases up on 2016. Health and Ambulance Services Minister Steven Miles said Queensland Health was tackling the flu wave head-on — with free vaccinations for children under five
2nd Jan 2018 - NTNews.com.au

News Scan for Jan 02, 2018

More avian flu outbreaks continued in four countries that reported earlier outbreaks, all involving different H5 subtypes, according to reports from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and governments. Canada's 2011-12 flu season—mild with all strains circulating—offered researchers a unique opportunity to study the impact of the flu vaccine on severe illness in adults, and the findings revealed that it was highly effective against A strains and moderately effective against influenza B.
2nd Jan 2018 - CIDRAP

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 2nd Jan 2018

    View this newsletter in full

Flu Cases Surge In The US And The UK: Deadly Strain Driving The Outbreaks

The current flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst in years, according to health experts, with cases of influenza surging in the past week in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The surge is led by a particularly deadly strain of influenza and, unfortunately for the populations of both the US and the UK, the outbreak in both countries is likely still moving toward its peak.
1st Jan 2018 - The Inquisitr

The outbreak of flu affects large numbers of people across the USA

The flu season has hit the United States hard this year, where 49 states and Puerto Rico reported outbreaks during the week ended December 23, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest report., CDC. Throughout the country, 12 children have died due to the flu this season, while a total of 2,485 hospitalizations are related to the flu, almost nine per 100,000 people.
30th Dec 2017 - Telemundo

CDC to Docs: As Flu Spikes, Ready The Antivirals

There have been many more flu cases in recent weeks, according to the CDC, which issued a health advisory. The CDC is recommending, besides the flu vaccine for prevention, more use of antiviral medicines for treatment. Quick treatment is crucial and "should not be delayed even for a few hours to wait for the results of testing," according to the advisory
29th Dec 2017 - Web MD.com

Flu and cold warning to hospital visitors

Scotland's largest health board has asked people with cold or flu-like symptoms not to visit patients in hospital. The warning comes at a time when its hospitals said they were "experiencing the usual winter pressures". Similar advice is in effect across NHS Highland, and at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. NHS Grampian said a "high number" of cases of both influenza A and influenza B were being seen.
29th Dec 2017 - BBC News

Doctor warns flu illnesses up due to false flu vaccine information

In the U.S., the flu season is in full swing, and Jeffrey Silvers, M.D., says hospitals are having a hard time finding enough beds. Silvers says he checked to see how many patients in eight Northern California hospitals had been vaccinated. "Seventy-five percent of patients admitted to the hospital never received a flu vaccine. They were three times more likely to be admitted to the hospital if they were not vaccinated than if they were," he said. Silvers believes the drop in the number of people getting vaccinated is due to what he calls false information out of Australia regarding the effectiveness of the vaccine at just 10 percent
29th Dec 2017 - ABC7 News

Reappearance of A(H1N1) the virus behind the 2009 epidemic

The Ministry of Health (SSA) reported (without determining the place of diagnosis) that it had detected the first case of a person infected with the influenza virus AH1N1 so far this winter season. This is the virus which in 2009 caused an epidemiological alert worldwide. In the SSA report, 413 positive cases of influenza have been confirmed, of which the majority are for AH3N2, with 299 cases, 84 for Influenza Type B, 29 for Influenza Type A and one case of AH1N1. Up to week 51 of the influenza season, the death of five people have been recorded: two due to AH3N2, two due to Influenza Yype B and one person due to Influenza Type A
29th Dec 2017 - ADNl sureste

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 29th Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Antiflu vaccination cover reaches 63% of high risk groups

The Director of Policies and Strategies at the Secretary of Health of Hidalgo (SSH) Concepcion Carmona indicated in an interview that health teams have moved flu vaccination rates forward and that 63% of the target population is now covered. She also specified that all flu-related deaths from the disease to date were from people who were not vaccinated. She also stated that it is essential that vaccination groups need to press on and get high risk groups vaccinated since this is the main way in which these groups can deal with the disease.
28th Dec 2017 - Independiente de Hidalgo

The SSJ has enough flu vaccine to help it get through the winter

There are 621,000 doses which can be used to protect those groups at the greatest risk of harm from catching the flu. "Here in Jalisco, 1,566,629 doses of influenza have been applied, this represents 71.61% of the target group coverage. Our goal is just over 2,00,000 doses and there are still 621,000 thousand doses still to be applied," local health experts said
28th Dec 2017 - Informador.com.mx

NIH issues advisory for prevention of swine flu

In Pakistan the National Institute of Health issued a health advisory for prevention of swine flu after the outbreak of the disease in different parts of the country. It explained that vaccination is the most effective way to prevent infection and severe outcomes caused by influenza viruses particularly in high-risk groups.
28th Dec 2017 - The Nation

Flu Shot Requirement Ban Moving To Another House Committee

A controversial bill dealing with whether an employer can force workers to get the flu shot is still sitting in the Ohio House. The bill is set to get a new round of committee hearings. The bill, HB193, would ban employers from firing or punishing workers who refuse to get flu vaccines. The legislation had several hearings in the House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee and passed out of committee in September. But now House leaders are sending it back for more hearings before a different panel, the House Health Committee.
28th Dec 2017 - Radio Wosu.org

Influenza a burden to Kenya’s healthcare – WHO report

Kenya’s efforts to keep a healthy population are being hampered by the often-ignored ailments like seasonal influenza, the WHO has said. In its situation report, WHO indicates that as many as 650,000 people die from respiratory problems annually, warning governments to focus more on these ailments. According to the global health body, Kenya is among countries where these types of diseases are a major burden on the population. However, governments in the affected countries have underfunded the sector
28th Dec 2017 - The Nation

Doubling of flu cases - the peak is coming for Florentines

In Florence, Italy, there was a doubling of flu cases in the week before Christmas, according to data collected by InfluNet , the Italian flul surveillance network, coordinated by the Higher Institute of Health which studies the evolution of the virus, region by region. "And the numbers are still growing, driven by temperature fluctuations that promote the spread of viruses," according to Vittorio Boscherinin of Fimmg, the body representing the largest number of general practitioners. The peak period is expected between the end of the year and the first ten days of January.
28th Dec 2017 - La Nazione

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 28th Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Loads of flu vaccination doses could well be leftover by 31st December

Health authorities are inviting the Panamanian population that have not yet been vaccinated against influenza to attend Health Centers and get in done immediately. This is because the state has bought approximately 2 million vaccine doses and many are still unused and they will expire this December 31. For its part, the national director of health Itza Barahona said that due to the large number of cases that emerged last year it was decided to vaccinate the whole population so as to reduce the number of deaths due to influenza during the 2017-18
26th Dec 2017 - Radio Panama

Panama will waste around $2.4m in unused free flu vaccine

26th Dec 2017 - La Estrella de Panamá

Reports of 3 confirmed cases of Influenza in the Gomez Palacio district

These are the first confirmed cases in the Durango region of Mexico and the local health experts told the media that 70,000 doses of flu vaccination will be given out by a team of 600 health experts and 900 flu vaccination points
26th Dec 2017 - Milenio.com

Doctors: Flu Vaccine Only 40 to 60 Percent Effective on a Good Year

There are rising concerns about the flu virus as hospitals and clinics across Arkansas fill up with patients testing positive. According to the CDC, there have been nearly 14,000 confirmed cases of the flu this season. Many of those cases are in people who did get the flu vaccine. Jonesboro Doctor Kasey Holder says the vaccine is only 40 to 60 percent effective on a good year. And white it's been speculated that the vaccine may only be 10 percent effective this year, Dr. Holder says it's still a good idea to get the shot.
26th Dec 2017 - Arkansas Matters

What You Need to Know About the 2017 Flu Vaccine

If current numbers are any indication, the U.S. may see a sharp rise in influenza cases as Americans return from the holidays this year in particular. The CDC says that this year’s flu strains are expected to be mostly similar to last year’s, when the vaccine was 39% effective (a tad behind recent historical norms). The 2017 flu vaccine was created, to some extent, with such considerations in mind. Still, we won’t really know how effective this year’s shot is until the flu season has actually passed.
27th Dec 2017 - Fortune

Queen's Hospital's "stay away" plea to those with minor illnesses amid worst flu outbreak in decades

UK medics facing the worst winter flu outbreak in 20 years are urging those with minor illnesses to stay away from hospital. New NHS papers have highlighted a particularly virulent strain of seasonal flu, workforce shortages and problems with capacity. The briefing paper stated that the NHS had a long history of advance planning to deal with flu and had "significantly increased its focus" this year, including the use of incentive payments for hospitals which had 75 per cent of staff vaccinated.
27th Dec 2017 - Burton Mail

Sonora health authorities strengthen their fight against the spread of flu

In the Sonora region of Mexico, there have been 10 confirmed cases of influenza, so the Ministry of Health has strengthened reinforced its flu vaccination campaign against the disease. To date, this winter, 450,000 vaccination doses have been applied, however, there are enough vaccines available for the entire population to be vaccinated. "This year we will have a higher incidence of cases, therefore also probably more serious cases and therefore a higher risk of deaths," said Dr. Gilberto Ugson, Sonora's Health Secretary.
27th Dec 2017 - Noticieros Televisa

The state flu vaccination campaign continues apace

In Mexico, the Ministry of Health is continuing its influenza vaccination campaign aiming to meet the goal of more than 760,000 doses given out across the state of Coahuila in the period from the end of this year to the end of the first quarter of 2018. A vaccination task force, composed of two nurses belonging to Social Security, will be installed on Padre Flores street, between Abbott and Ocampo. This campaign is aimed primarily at pregnant women, children under 5 years, people with chronic diseases and older adults
27th Dec 2017 - El Diario de Coahuila

Taipei urges foreign care workers to get free flu vaccination

Taipei City’s Department of Health announced that a total of 6,000 flu vaccines would be available at designated MRT stations and Taipei City Hospital-affiliated outpatient clinics for residents and foreign nursing care workers. Statistics showed that over 90 percent of patients with severe or complicated influenza have not been vaccinated against the virus, according to the DOH
27th Dec 2017 - Taiwan News

Flu season ramps up early in KC, but will the vaccine work?

Some health experts feared the U.S. would have a rough flu season this year because it’s been particularly bad in Australia. This year’s flu vaccine was only about 10 percent effective against the strain that caused the most trouble there. But a study published earlier this month by researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that the vaccine is a better match for what appears to be the most prevalent strain in the U.S. this year
27th Dec 2017 - Kansas City Star

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 27th Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Seeking to strengthen vaccination campaigns against influenza to avoid an increase in cases

The Mexican Health Commission has asked state governments to redouble their vaccination campaign against influenza across the country and that they include schools, parks and public places, with the aim of achieving greater coverage and protection for the most vulnerable groups in society such as pregnant women, children under nine, adults over 60 and people with chronic diseases.
26th Dec 2017 - Noticias Chihuahua

UMass Amherst and Research Partners Aim to Improve Flu Season Forecasts

Research teams, including one led by biostatistician Nicholas Reich at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, are participating in a national influenza forecasting challenge to try to predict the onset, progress and peaks of regional flu outbreaks to aid prevention and control.This year, the Reich Lab is leading an effort to improve the forecasting by increasing the collaboration between groups.
26th Dec 2017 - UMass News and Media Relations

An increase in the number of flu cases in Queretaro

In its report for Week 51, issued by the Epidemiology Directorate of the Federal Ministry of Health, it said that there were 11 more confirmed cases of influenza in Queretaro, which means there has been a total of 26 to date. This places the state in fifth place nationwide for flu cases, with the largest number of cases in Mexico City, 42; Coahuila, 41 and San Luis Potosí, 37.
24th Dec 2017 - El Grafico

Winter flu: Should we expect the worst?

To make the adult flu vaccine, virus is grown in hen eggs but this can also lead to virus mutation. And recent studies have suggested that antibodies raised by these mutant egg-grown H3N2 vaccine viruses are unable to kill viruses that are infecting humans. However, for Dr John McCauley, director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza at the Crick Institute UK, it isn't just down to the way the virus is grown: "For the attenuated vaccine, which is also grown in hens' eggs, the protection was good."
23rd Dec 2017 - BBC News

Flu shot only 10% effective against most common strain this year

As flu season starts to move into the Atlantic region, Nova Scotia's top doctor is warning the current vaccine isn't as protective as it could be. Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, said this year's the flu shot is only about 10 per cent effective against what is likely to become to most prevalent strain. Nonetheless, he still advises Nova Scotians to get their flu vaccinations because "some protection is better than zero protection."
23rd Dec 2017 - CBC.ca

Hospitals are facing double threat of superbugs and flu

In Ireland, flu cases are rising with the spread of a number of strains including the A(H3N2) form, which led to widespread infection during the last Australian winter. More patients are expected to be struck with the flu in the coming weeks due to increased travel and more social gatherings. Hospitals across the country have dramatically wound down activity for the next two weeks which should allow A&E departments to cope an influx of flu patients and a post-Christmas surge
23rd Dec 2017 - Independent.ie

Aussie flu: These are the symptoms to look out for as deadly flu heads to UK this winter

In the UK, public health expert Professor Robert Dingwall, of Nottingham Trent University, said it's "almost inevitable" that Aussie flu will come to Britain over this winter. He said: "The reports from Australia suggest the UK might be in for the worst winter flu season for many years." Public Health England meanwhile, has said it isn't yet known whether the UK will suffer as much as Australia
23rd Dec 2017 - Somerset Live

With Influenza Widespread in CT and 3 Flu-Related Deaths Already This Season, DPH Advises It's Still Not Too Late To Get a Flu Shot

Influenza activity has rapidly increased in the past two weeks and has contributed to the deaths of three individuals in Connecticut over the age of 65 so far this season, according to the State Department of Public Health. While the increase in flu activity and deaths is not unusual for this time of year, DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino strongly urged people who have not yet had a flu shot to get one
23rd Dec 2017 - Norwalk Plus Magazine

Survey: 93.6 percent of Kansas hospital staff vaccinated for flu in 2016-17 season

A survey conducted by a nonprofit focused on health care found that 93.6 percent of hospital staff in Kansas received a flu shot during last year’s flu season. Kansas Healthcare Collaborative’s annual Health Care Personnel Influenza Immunization Survey found Kansas ranks 11th in the nation for the highest percentage of hospital personnel immunized during the 2016-17 flu season
23rd Dec 2017 - Capital-Journal Online

Health authorities promote flu vaccination against influenza

Vaccination against influenza in Costa Rica is important as Oct-Feb is the peak season for cases, which last year caused the death of 44 people during this same period.
23rd Dec 2017 - Periódico La República

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 22nd Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Flu shot safe, even with an egg allergy

A leading U.S. allergists’ group says it’s safe for people with an egg allergy to get a flu shot. Doctors no longer need to question patients about egg allergy before giving the vaccine, according to an updated guideline from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
21st Dec 2017 - Chicago Tribune

Flu vaccine safe for individuals with egg allergy

21st Dec 2017 - Clinical Advisor

Flu Vaccine Practice Guideline: Egg-Based Vaccines Safe for Those with Egg Allergy

21st Dec 2017 - Pharmacy Times

Administration of influenza vaccines to egg allergic recipients: A practice parameter update 2017

21st Dec 2017 - Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

Workplace employer is not liable for any vaccination/vaccine damage

In Germany, anyone who gets vaccinated against influenza and ends up suffering health problems as a result, will not receive compensation from the employer - even if the vaccination was carried out by the company doctor . This was decided by a Federal Labor Court on Thursday in Erfurt
21st Dec 2017 - Der Spiegel

You get better vaccination acceptance if you use social media

Up to 15 percent of parents delay or refuse at least one of the generally recommended vaccinations for their children. Jason Glanz from the Institute for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Colorado and other research colleagues looked at how social media can influence these decisions with balanced information
21st Dec 2017 - Arzte Zeitung

Flu Vaccines - anyone injured by them has the right to compensation rules constitutional court

In Italy, anyone who has suffered permanent psychophysical damage caused by flu vaccination has the right to be indemnified by the State , even if it is not automatic. This right was affirmed by the Italian Constitutional Court, called to rule on the matter by the Court of Appeal of Milan. The case is based on a person suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and then falling into a high risk category justifying a flu vaccination. He contracted a disease because of the flu vaccine and asked to be compensated.
21st Dec 2017 - Donna Moderna.com

Forget Russia: Fake social media accounts can spread lies about vaccination safety, e-cigarettes

A Keck School of Medicine of USC researcher says that fake social media accounts can be bad for your health. Jon-Patrick Allem, lead author of the study, likened social bots to actress Jenny McCarthy and the “vaccinations cause autism” movement, an idea that has been debunked many times but still sticks. “We now have measles outbreaks in Southern California because people shared personal stories about how vaccinations reportedly caused their child to have autism,” said Allem, a research scientist in the preventive medicine department of the Keck School of Medicine
21st Dec 2017 - ScienceBlog.com

People urged to get flu vaccine after jump in cases of influenza-like illness

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) in Ireland has urged people in high-risk groups to get vaccinated against influenza. The number of reported cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) in Ireland has increased in the past week and flu is now actively circulating.
21st Dec 2017 - The Journal.ie

More than 40% of NHS staff yet to have flu jab as hospitals head into "Christmas crisis"

More than 40 per cent of frontline NHS staff are yet to have a flu jab despite being told they have a “professional responsibility” to get vaccinated as the NHS heads for a “Christmas crisis”. It comes as hospitals were told to cancel non-emergency operations until "mid-January" as NHS winter statistics show pressure is ratcheting up.
21st Dec 2017 - The Independent

Saskatchewan residents advised of potential flu season peak

In Canada, flu season is expected to peak sometime over the next week or two which is causing the Saskatchewan office of the chief medical health officer reminding residents to take extra caution. Dr. Shahab, Chief Medical Health Officer, says while the influenza vaccine has worked significantly better for young people than elderly this year, doesn’t mean the flu shot was not useful.
21st Dec 2017 - 620ckrm.com

Flu 2017: when the season will peak and when it will come to an end

“Flu is extremely unpredictable,” said Roni Rosenberg, a flu forecaster and researcher at Carnegie Mellon University. Rosenberg’s model indicates at the moment that flu may peak earlier than usual in most parts of the U.S., he said—and it will probably be higher than usual, too. That may mean that flu season might wind down sooner than usual, too, but that’s not a sure thing. However, flu modeling is still very rudimentary
21st Dec 2017 - Newsweek

Flu season likely to peak in the coming weeks

In Ireland, the winter flu season has started and will probably peak in the next three to six weeks, according to the Health Service Executive. The Director of the HSE's Health Protection Surveillance Service, Dr Kevin Kelleher encouraged people to get vaccinated, particularly those over 65, pregnant women and those under 65 with various health conditions.
21st Dec 2017 - rte.ie

Teenager who suffered complications from swine flu vaccination denied DWP payout despite crippling health conditions

In the UK, a teenager who developed a string of serious and complicated health problems after receiving the swine flu vaccination has been refused a payout from the DWP after being told she does not meet the necessary criteria for disability.
21st Dec 2017 - Crewe Chronicle

More people in Jersey protected against flu this winter

More people in Jersey are protected against flu this winter. New figures show a rise in vulnerable islanders who received the flu vaccination this year compared to last year. In particular, there has been a large increase in the number of two to four year-old children protected against flu, 55% compared with 32% in 2016/17. Figures were also up for people aged 65 and over, with 58% receiving their vaccination, up from 50% last winter
21st Dec 2017 - ITV

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 21st Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Flu Shot is Safe for Those with Egg Allergies

According to new government guidelines published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), individuals with an egg allergy no longer need to avoid the flu shot. The practice parameter update makes a strong recommendation indicating that individuals with an egg allergy, regardless of how severe those allergies are, should receive the flu vaccine
19th Dec 2017 - MD Magazine

New Flu Vaccine Guidelines Issued for Patients With Egg Allergy

19th Dec 2017 - empr.com

Flu Season 2017: People With Egg Allergies Can Get The Influenza Vaccine Safely

19th Dec 2017 - Yahoo News UK

Flu shots are safe for people with egg allergies, new report shows

20th Dec 2017 - Los Angeles Times

People with egg allergies don't actually need a special flu shot

20th Dec 2017 - Popular Science

New Flu Vaccine Guidelines Issued for Patients With Egg Allergy

20th Dec 2017 - Oncology Nurse Advisor

Vaccination rates against seasonal flu make advances

Although there is still a need for institutions to confirm their report to the National Vaccination authorities, the Ministry of Health in Sonora reported that there has been at least 76% coverage of the target population with influenza vaccinations. Luis Becerra Hurtado, undersecretary of Health in the State, explained that 406,155 Sonorans have been vaccinated this current winter season, which began on October 16. "There is still one more week of vaccination to go and this could change the data," he said. The Ministry of Health has in its possession 155,000 doses of vaccines against the flu, of which 86,500 are in the State Vaccine Centre Reserve
20th Dec 2017 - ELIMPARCIAL.COM

There has been 17 cases of seasonal flu in Ciudad de Mexico

The state government of Ciudad de Mexico has recorded 17 confirmed cases of seasonal flu, with no recorded deaths so far, according to Health Secretary Miguel Angel Mancera
20th Dec 2017 - Milenio.com

Vaccine best protection against Influenza

The flu season is in full swing and Public Health Command Europe officials continue to recommend the flu vaccine for service members and their families as the best protection against the seasonal flu. Each year the effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies and while it is still too early to predict how effective this season's flu vaccine will be in Europe, the vaccination is still recommended as, at the very least, it may make the illness milder and prevent hospitalization if the flu is contracted.
20th Dec 2017 - United States Army

KUMACA students, staff to be vaccinated as H1N1 vaccines arrive today

Information gathered by Ultimatefmonline.com suggests that the vaccines for the H1N1 Type ‘A’ Viral Influenza are due to arrive in Ghana in the evening. The health service in the Ashanti region is predicting that it will begin administering the vaccinations immediately
20th Dec 2017 - GhanaWeb

Vigilance against childhood and common infectious diseases urged in Christmas and New Year holidays

In Hong Kong, the public, particularly children, the elderly and those with underlying illnesses, are urged to get vaccinated early to better protect themselves against seasonal influenza before the winter influenza season. "While local activity of SI remains at low level, it continues to increase in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere and the winter influenza season has arrived in the United States, Canada and Japan. We anticipate that the local winter influenza season may arrive in early 2018," a spokesman said.
20th Dec 2017 - info.gov.hk

Fun flu jab video released by Isle of Wight NHS Trust

In the UK, Bestival boss Rob da Bank has teamed up with staff at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust for a fun video promoting the flu jab. The trust has been encouraging frontline staff to get the jab and protect themselves, and therefore patients, from the four strains of flu and so far 62.3 per cent of employees have had it. Bosses are reminding staff it is not too late to get their jab, with the vaccination available until March next year.
20th Dec 2017 - Isle of Wight County Press

Iowa seeing more flu cases this year

Iowa is seeing more flu cases compared to this same time last year. The state health department says there have been 199 cases of the flu so far this season. Last year at this time, there had been just 32 cases. Researchers say they are watching this, but they aren't ready yet to say it's going to be a bad flu season. The peak is still coming. Doctors also say there's been misinformation that this year's flu shot is just 10% effective. They say it's actually around 32%.
20th Dec 2017 - kcci.com

Influenza on the rise in Washington; health officials say “Get vaccinated now”

Influenza illnesses are increasing and health officials at the Washington State Department of Health urge Washingtonians to get a flu shot now. Officials also want people to avoid spreading the flu and to know when it’s okay to be cared for at home and when they should get medical care.
20th Dec 2017 - NBC Right Now.com

Report: Flu-shot rate in Minnesota too low

Barely more than half of Minnesotans got a flu shot during the fall and winter of 2016-17, said a report released on Tuesday. But the state’s 51.7 percent flu vaccination rate was the seventh-highest in the country, according to “Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism,” a report from the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health. The CDC has a goal of 70 percent vaccination, noted John Auerbach, president and CEO of the trust
20th Dec 2017 - St Peter Herald.com

The Virus That Conquered the World, 100 Years Later

Not only is another influenza pandemic possible, but it’s certain to eventually happen. “When a pandemic strikes, having the right medicines and treatments at the right location and in the right quantity is vital," says Neha Nanda, MD, a hospital epidemiologist and medical director of infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship at Keck Medicine of USC. She adds that "there are major constraints in the medication supply chain that are primarily driven by the need for strict temperature control for vaccines from the beginning to the end of the supply chain. In countries or regions where infrastructure such as electricity, cold chain and other essential requirements are not in place, it’s very hard to maintain the integrity of the medical supply chain"
20th Dec 2017 - Infection Control Today

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 20th Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Allergic to eggs? You can now get the flu shot, new guidelines say

In the past, people with egg allergy were advised to explore egg-free flu vaccination options. But a paper published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology found the flu shot to be safe and recommended its use for people who are allergic to eggs. "People with egg allergy of any severity can receive the influenza vaccine without any special precautions," said Dr. Matthew Greenhawt, the paper's lead author and chairman of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Food Allergy Committee
19th Dec 2017 - CNN

Guidelines say no special precautions needed for flu shots for people allergic to eggs

20th Dec 2017 - EurekAlert!

Egg Allergy No Bar to Flu Vax, Experts Say

19th Dec 2017 - MedPage Today

People with Egg Allergies Shouldn't Worry About the Flu Shot, Guidelines Say

19th Dec 2017 - Time

ACAAI Updates Practice Parameters on Flu Shots for Individuals with Egg Allergy

19th Dec 2017 - Contagionlive.com

Flu shot is safe for people with egg allergies, experts say

19th Dec 2017 - Today.com

Flu Shot Safe Even With an Egg Allergy

19th Dec 2017 - Philly.com

Having An Egg Allergy Is No Longer An Excuse To Skip Getting A Flu Shot

19th Dec 2017 - Forbes

Administration of influenza vaccines to egg allergic recipients: A practice parameter update 2017

19th Dec 2017 - Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

Flu season 2017: people with egg allergies can get the influenza vaccine safely

19th Dec 2017 - Newsweek

NHS England to use live seasonal illness data to plan winter capacity

Data revealing patterns of seasonal illness outbreaks will be used to direct patients to GP services, easing pressures on secondary care, NHS England has said. Data collected by Public Health England will reveal when it is more likely to expect a rise in the outbreak of acute seasonal illnesses or flu, respiratory syncytial virus and norovirus.
19th Dec 2017 - Pulse

Pennsylvania spared from widespread flu activity, for now

A dozen states are reporting widespread flu activity but, so far, Pennsylvania has been spared. Pennsylvania's current status is labeled “local” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meaning increases are limited to a single region of the state. Widespread activity means that the flu has been confirmed in at least half the regions of a state. “I suspect it is only a matter of time before we climb to this status,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a Pittsburgh-based infectious disease expert for the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
19th Dec 2017 - Tribune-Review

Flu jab 2017: 20% of doctors won't be getting vaccine over ‘concerns of effectiveness'

Flu jabs are the best way to protect against flu, according to Public Health England, but one in five doctors declined the vaccine this year, over concerns of its effectiveness, a new poll has revealed. Public Health England still urged all GPs to get the flu vaccine, and maintained it was the best way to prevent infection this year.
19th Dec 2017 - Express.co.uk

States' report card highlights threat of weather, infectious diseases

Karen Remley, MD, MBA, CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) spoke about the need for more vaccination efforts across the country, citing outbreaks of measles and whooping coughs as costly public health crises that could have been avoided with routine immunizations. "The AAP maintains that vaccines are safe, effective, and save lives," Remley said. Only 20 states reported vaccinating more than half of their populations against seasonal influenza, a rate that climbed from 10 states in last year's report.
19th Dec 2017 - CIDRAP

Report Highlights Florida’s Lack Of Flu Vaccinations With A Severe Season Expected

The percentage of Florida’s population properly inoculated against the flu is far lower than federal health officials recommend, according to a new report. The Sunshine State has the 12th lowest vaccination rate in the country. Trust for America’s Health CEO John Auerbach said no state meets the federal government’s recommendation of a 70 percent vaccination rate.
19th Dec 2017 - wlrn.org

Flu Vaccine: The Jar Is Three-Quarters Full, Not Half Empty

William Schaffner, MD, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, explains the strengths and weaknesses of the flu vaccine.
19th Dec 2017 - Contagion Live

Paula Simons: Covenant Health's flu fight needs shot in the arm

Few hospitals and health facilities in Alberta, Canada, are doing a stellar job of ensuring their workers get immunized against influenza.Last week, Alberta Health Services released its latest report card on vaccination rates in health centres. The rates are up from this time last year, by 2.8 per cent. Yet only two facilities in this entire province had vaccination rates of better than 80 per cent
18th Dec 2017 - Edmonton Journal

Flu vaccine could work as well as last year's shot: study

The flu has reached epidemic proportions in seven of the 10 regions in the country, according to Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist in the U.S. CDC's influenza division. Even more troubling, the same, more severe H3N2 flu strain that was around last year is circulating again this year, she said. That concerned flu experts who had watched the vaccine show only 10 percent effectiveness against the H3N2 strain that circulated in Australia, where the flu season has just ended. But a recent report in the journal F1000 Research found the Australian strain of H3N2 is not identical to the predominant virus circulating in the United States.
18th Dec 2017 - Medical Xpress

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 19th Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

New study suggests flu vaccine could work as well as last year's

As the flu barrels across the United States, the good news is that this year's vaccine may work better than many expected. a recent report in the journal F1000 Research found the Australian strain of H3N2 is not identical to the predominant virus circulating in the United States. "The majority of the viruses are well-covered by the vaccine," said lead researcher Dr. Slobodan Paessler, a professor in the department of pathology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. "There are some minor groups of viruses that are not well-covered," he added
18th Dec 2017 - United Press International

Flu Vaccine Could Work as Well as Last Year's Shot: Study

18th Dec 2017 - Drugs.com

Residents become immune to Michigan strain swine flu

In Telangana, India, the drop in swine flu cases and its lower intensity this year was the result of the people of the city developing immunity against the Michigan strain, according to public health officials. Only 10 cases were recorded in Telangana in November. “The Michigan strain was identified very late and by the time it was known the people developed immunity towards it. The cases being seen are very mild and the numbers have not been very high since November. The virus, present since last three years, was virulent till September. From this winter, the immunity is built in human bodies and till the virus mutates the new strain will not develop,” said an officer.
19th Dec 2017 - Deccan Chronicle

1,300 CA Veterans Got "Compromised" Flu Shots: Report

Roughly 1,300 veterans in California received flu vaccines in October that were held in a broken refrigerator, ultimately making the shots ineffective, reported The San Diego Union-Tribune. Another 240 peoples at the San Diego VA's office also received the "compromised" shots. The newspaper reported last week that the refrigerator's "temperature rose to the mid 50s, while the proper range for that vaccine is 36 to 46 degrees." "Then a series of missteps occurred, and it took 10 days for anyone to notice"
18th Dec 2017 - Patch

Mayor says flu vaccination helps protect you against a range of respiratory illnesses

The mayor José Isabel Badillo Jaramillo, in coordination with the Secretary of Health, is inviting the people of Xicohtzinco to come and get vaccinated against the flu. The municipal authorities want to get people protected against respiratory diseases that break out each year during the cold season. They are calling on all the inhabitants of the municipality to get protected against influenza
18th Dec 2017 - e-Tlaxcala Periódico Digital de Tlaxcala

Flu vaccination campaign has reached 60% completion of the target groups to date

The vaccination campaign against influenza is 60% complete, and it is expected that by the end of December the total doses will have been used. The Secretary of Health said that vaccination reduces the risk of presenting a severe form of respiratory disease and the inevitable risk of premature death on contracting it. "This does not mean that people cannot be vaccinated in January or February, it can also be done, but the recommendation is to do it in advance of the period when the disease will be at its most intense," he said. Since October, when epidemiological surveillance of the cold season began, seven cases of influenza have been reported in Sonora.
18th Dec 2017 - UniObregon

ISSSTE has managed to reach everyone in its initial flu vaccination at-risk target group

The state delegate for the Institute of Security and Social Services for State Workers (ISSSTE), Sergio Blanca Alvarez, reported that health authorities had reached 100% of the target at risk population with their flu vaccination campaign, so now they were asking for ten thousand more vaccine doses which they can use to protect even more people against influenza.
18th Dec 2017 - Diario de Queretaro

NHS to use 'sickness surveillance system' to predict pressure points this winter

In the UK, the NHS is to use a "sickness surveillance system" to predict illnesses before they happen this winter in a bid to cope with crippling pressures. The technology combines data gathered daily from GP surgeries, hospital emergency departments, the NHS 111 helpline and walk-in centres with Met Office weather alerts and is intended to give medics early warning of regional outbreaks of flu or other seasonal illnesses
18th Dec 2017 - Daily Telegraph

Physicians Recommend Getting Flu Shot As Soon As Possible

In an average year, between 12,000 and 56,000 Americans will die from flu-related illness. Already this year there’s been one pediatric flu death in Texas, and a school closure due to an outbreak. Allison Winnike with The Immunization Partnership said the flu virus mutates, so scientists try to predict the strains that are going to be active. “But the great thing about the flu vaccine is that it protects us against a lot of different strains. Even if we don’t have an exact match, it can lessen the symptoms,” Winnike said
18th Dec 2017 - Houston Public Media

This Year's Flu Virus Could Be Worse Than Usual — And the Vaccine May Not Help

Public-health experts are predicting that this year’s flu will be severe for several reasons. Cases are starting up early, which is one indicator of an aggressive virus, Australia recorded 2½ times as many cases, compared to the same period last year, and experts report that the flu vaccine may not be as effective as they’d hoped
18th Dec 2017 - Time

Flu season is here early, why didn't we see it coming?

Normally, in the U.S., flu infections start to increase around the beginning of January, peak in February, and then come down by the end of March. But according to data released by the CDC, the flu is already widespread in 12 states, including California and New York. Medical researchers have raised concerns over how effective this year’s flu vaccine is against the most severe strain: H3N2
18th Dec 2017 - Wired

How Does the Flu Actually Kill People?

In a typical season most flu-related deaths occur among children and the elderly, both of whom are uniquely vulnerable. Because the immune systems of children are relatively naive, they may not respond optimally. In contrast the immune systems of the elderly are often weakened by a combination of age and underlying illness. Both the very young and very old may also be less able to tolerate and recover from the immune system's self-attack
18th Dec 2017 - Scientific American

Health experts call for including influenza vaccine in EPI

At a time when influenza-related deaths are rising globally, there is no official influenza vaccine policy in Pakistan. “Influenza vaccination is strongly recommended by the WHO on a yearly basis,” said Dr Suleman Otho, senior chest specialist and public health consultant. High cost, traditional norms, customs and low levels of education in Pakistan are preventing people from getting vaccinated. It is timely to include influenza vaccination in the Expanded Programme on Immunization Pakistan, which is a disease prevention programme aiming to eradicate preventable diseases through subsidized or free immunization, Dr Otho added
18th Dec 2017 - Daily Times

Doctors in Devon encourage patients to get flu vaccination

Doctors in Devon, UK, are reminding patients that it's not too late to get vaccinated against flu. Free jabs are available to pregnant women and pensioners. As well as expectant mothers and pensioners, people with potentially serious health conditions may also qualify for free vaccinations
18th Dec 2017 - ITV News

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 18th Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Respiratory diseases up 18%

During the initial month of the winter season health authorities have not seen more than 5 cases of H3N2 influenza, patients who are currently under treatment with Oseltamivir. However, there are another 568 people with symptoms of this condition without a lab confirmed diagnosis
17th Dec 2017 - Milenio.com

Influenza cases on the increase in Puebla

Between epidemiological week 48 and 50 this year, the state of Puebla went from twenty-first to seventeenth place nationally in terms of the number of confirmed influenza cases during the winter season 2017-2018, according to an updated report by the General Directorate of Epidemiology (DGE). This means that between November 24 and December 1, Puebla was in the twenty-first place in terms of influenza cases, while between December 7 and 14 it went to the seventeenth. Up to epidemiological week 50 six cases of influenza in Puebla were recorded, which represents 1.7 percent of the total number of notifications nationwide, which are currently totaling 270.
17th Dec 2017 - Periodico Central

Hospital worker fired for refusing flu shot isn"t a victim of religious discrimination, U.S. court says

A hospital worker who was fired for refusing to get a flu shot can't claim he was discriminated against on religious grounds, a federal court panel ruled Thursday. Paul Fallon's claim falls short because his objection to being inoculated isn't a religious belief, but more of a medical qualm, the judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit concluded
16th Dec 2017 - PennLive.com

The health sector teams have given out around 153,000 flu jabs to date

Governor Carlos Joaquín said that from October 16 to December 6 of this year the health sector has given around 153,939 flu jabs free according to the secretary of Health Alejandra Aguirre Crespo. The jabs have been targetted towards girls and boys from 6 months to 59 months of age, adults over 60 years and over, pregnant women, the obese, the diabetic, the hypertensive, people with anemia, with uncontrolled asthma, arthritis, heart problems, kidney disease, chronic lung diseases, HIV and other people with immunosuppression problems and health worker teams as well
15th Dec 2017 - Yucatan a la Mano

Britons warned of nasty strain of ‘Aussie flu’

Professor Robert Dingwall, a public health expert at Nottingham Trent University, told the Daily Express the Aussie flu was tipped to be the most serious flu outbreak since the 1968 pandemic that started in Hong Kong. That outbreak killed more than a million people world wide. Dr Dingwall urged British medical officials to urgently review emergency planning procedures and ensure even more hospital beds are freed up. “We need to be prepared, alert and flexible,” he said. Around 8000 Britons die of the flu annually and this year’s pre-Christmas bitter cold snap, coupled with the deadly experience in Australia has medical experts worried.
15th Dec 2017 - The Australian

Flu season could be "serious," according to health officials

There have been 11 confirmed cases of the flu on P.E.I., Canada, and all of them have been confirmed to be the strain H3N2. One person has died, though the flu may not have been a major contributing factor in the death, according to the provincial Department of Health and Wellness. Howard Njoo, the deputy chief public health officer for the Public Health Agency of Canada, said even though the effectiveness of the vaccine may not be as high as other years, he would still recommend people get it.
15th Dec 2017 - CBC

Flu hits Peoria with signs that vaccine is less effective this year

In Peoria, doctors are seeing an uptick in flu patients. Reported cases are a bit higher than normal for this time of year, said Dr. Brian Curtis, a physician with OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center. It’s likely the flu vaccine won’t be as effective this year. Curtis is trying to get ahead of the problem by recommending preventative measures. The first is to go out and get the flu shot, even though it’s not a perfect match. “Even if the vaccine is a little bit off, people who have had the shot and still catch the flu do better than if they didn’t get the vaccine,” he said
15th Dec 2017 - Peoria Journal Star

Board of Health discusses methods to combat influenza

The Columbia Board of Health hosted two doctors who described the science and policy behind vaccinations. This year the Board of Health helped administer 9,761 influenza shots to students in both public and private schools across the county, which is more than last year
14th Dec 2017 - ABC 17 News

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 15th Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

San Diego VA's haywire alert system led to bad flu vaccine, "accountability" actions underway

After a San Diego VA refrigerator failed and left 1,500 people with useless flu shots in October, the La Jolla VA hospital director says temperature alerts went to the wrong people and nobody took action — for 10 days. "I take this very seriously," Dr. Robert Smith said in an interview. “Individual accountability is going to be — or in my opinion, should be — part of our response.” As of this week, the “accountability actions” are underway, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials in San Diego said
14th Dec 2017 - San Diego Union Tribune

A sharp rise in reported respiratory ailments this season

In recent weeks with a decrease in temperature there has been a 30% increase in the number of medical consultation linked to respiratory problems and, therefore, a rise in the sale of medicines linked to these conditions. A tour of pharmaceutical chains in Merida confirmed this. The products in most demand are to treat the flu, syrups for coughs and antibiotics for respiratory infections.
14th Dec 2017 - Sipse.com

Edomex prisoners are getting a flu jab

The Mexican Secretary of State for Security (SSEM), in coordination with the Health Institute of the same entity (ISEM), has given out more than 26,000 flu vaccination jabs to inmates in Mexican jails with the purpose of diminishing this disease during the present winter season.
14th Dec 2017 - Quadratín México

The IMSS has handed out 5.7m influenza jabs so far

The DG of the IMSS, Tuffic Miguel Ortega, said the agency has already given out more than half of all the flu vaccines it had according to its records. Tuffic Miguel called upon the local population to step forward and get vaccinated against the fly before the start of the seasonal outbreak of the disease
14th Dec 2017 - Excelsior

Flu Vaccine Available From December 18

In Bermuda, from December 18, the seasonal influenza vaccine will be available to the public from the Department of Health, at a cost of $10.00 per shot, and free of charge for persons over the age of 65 years
14th Dec 2017 - Bernews

Government Expecting 12 Thousand H1N1 Vaccines For Immunization

In Ghana, the government is expecting to receive about 12 thousand doses of H1N1 Influenza Vaccines to carry out a vaccination exercise with the Kumasi Academy, KUMACA and the school’s immediate environs as priorities. All the students and staff of the school will be vaccinated to avert any more infections
14th Dec 2017 - Ghana Broadcasting Corporation

H1N1 Outbreak: 10,000 Vaccines To Arrive Soon

14th Dec 2017 - Daily Guide Africa.com

10,000 Vaccines For H1N1 To Arrive Soon

14th Dec 2017 - Modern Ghana

Calls to boost uptake as less than half of eligible patients had flu jab

Less than half of the patients eligible for free flu vaccinations were vaccinated in 2016/17, a British Lung Foundation report has revealed. The report, Out in the cold, Lung disease, the hidden driver of NHS winter pressure, showed that just 48% of patients with chronic respiratory disease and patients aged 65 and over, among others, were vaccinated. The UK has ‘a commendably high uptake of the flu vaccine in over 65s, compared with most countries’, according to the report, yet the uptake in patients with chronic lung conditions is substantially lower
14th Dec 2017 - Pulse Today

Lung experts 'deeply concerned' by low flu jab uptake in England

In the UK, fewer than half those eligible for a free winter flu jab have had one, despite high-profile warnings that this winter could bring the biggest flu outbreak in years, NHS figures reveal. Just 44% of people aged under 65 with an underlying medical condition, and only 43% of pregnant women, have had the jab. Uptake among primary school aged children is even lower than among adults. Lung experts said the low uptake rates were “deeply concerning” and warned that vulnerable patients could suffer
14th Dec 2017 - The Guardian

Dorset County Hospital prepares for winter flu crisis

At Dorset County Hospital in the UK, doctors are preparing for the possibility that the flu that hit Australia and New Zealand badly over their winter could come to us. Chief operating officer for Dorset County Hospital Julie Pearce explains that every precaution is being taken against flu this winter: "We do know that Australia and New Zealand have had quite a difficult winter for flu, which means that sometimes we can experience the same thing because winter is at a different time of year for the northern hemisphere We are making sure that all our staff have been vaccinated for flu, or at least offered it. It's important that we are ready in case flu is a particular problem for us."
14th Dec 2017 - WessexFM.com

Dominican Republic has given out 280,000 flu vaccination jabs

The Dominican Ministry of Health has distributed 280,000 doses of the type B influenza vaccine to apply to adults and children belonging to at-risk groups, such as the elderly, pregnant women, children under two years of age and chronic patients. This means that the health authorities now have the vaccines A (H1N1) and A (H3N2) necessary to protect the most vulnerable groups, with 180,000 ready doses for adults and 100,000 for children aged six months to two years, the health authorities reported today on its website
13th Dec 2017 - El Debate

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 14th Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Flu now prevalent in NY; Unvaccinated health care workers must wear face masks

It's time for New York health care workers who have not received flu shots to don face masks when working with patients. The state Health Department announced today influenza is now prevalent statewide, triggering the face mask rule. Unvaccinated nurses and other health care workers in hospitals and other facilities are required by state regulations to wear surgical or procedure masks around patients when flu is prevalent
13th Dec 2017 - NewYorkUpstate.com

NY Health Department: Influenza prevalent in the state

13th Dec 2017 - News10.com

Don’t ‘relax’ in tackling swine flu – Pharmacist tells Gov’t

Following claims by health officials that the outbreak of swine flu at Kumasi Academy in the Ashanti Region has been contained, a Clinical Pharmacist, Dr. Marc Dzradosi, has asked public health officials not to rest on their oars. He said guidelines on how to manage diseases, especially the contagious ones, are urgently needed.
13th Dec 2017 - Citi FM Online

People with learning disabilities urged to get free flu vaccine this winter

UK health chiefs are urging people with learning disabilities to ensure they are vaccinated against flu this winter. Anyone with a learning disability is entitled to receive a free vaccination. They can be more susceptible to the effects of flu and have a higher risk of developing complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
13th Dec 2017 - Dorset Echo

A scientist set out to prove that man flu is real so he could justify whining about his seasonal colds — what he found isn't helpful

Dr Kyle Sue's study on 'man flu' in the lighthearted Christmas edition of the BMJ has been widely reported. While some of the studies he cites hinge on reputable, peer-reviewed sources, many of them are taken from research on very small sample sizes. Other areas of his paper are based on inconclusive study results and self-reported surveys. Sue even cites one 2006 BMJ review that lambasted a British pinup magazine for suggesting (based on an online survey of 2,000 magazine readers) that ‘man flu’ was real. Social Psychologist Petra Boynton, who authored that critical report, was livid to discover that her work was being cited to support the existence of a man flu. She says her 2006 article was specifically pointing out how press coverage of the so-called man flu was based on unscientific magazine surveys and not actual public health research. She said it’s “disappointing” to see so much media coverage of an unserious study.
13th Dec 2017 - South China Morning Post

The chance to get vaccinated against influenza should not be missed in San Miguelito

Nearly 3,000 flu vaccines available to San Miguelito Regional Health are at risk of expiration if not applied before the end of this month. These doses were recently delivered to meet the demand of those people who have not yet come to the medical facilities to receive the vaccine. Mariela de Beckford, regional chief nurse of Health in San Miguelito, said that it is not only that the vaccines will expire this year, but also that in 2018 another virus will come on the scene which will require a new vaccine strain
13th Dec 2017 - Día a día

Needle phobia? There are alternatives to the syringe

A young Ecuadorian has invented a device that could help those who have needle phobia and therefore prefer not to inject. It is Biobyte, a device that loads the medicine in question and then sends the desired substance through the skin by means of ultrasound waves. "The ultrasound it carries out is due to it being in contact with the skin which allows us to permeabilize the tissue, then we can have an access channel to the subcutaneous area and after that the vaccine enters the body," said Fidel Mena Nogales, inventor of the device
13th Dec 2017 - El Debate

Anvisa authorises vaccination for flu in pharmacies

In Brazil, Anvisa backs flu vaccinations in pharmacies. Under the new proposal, any health facility will be able to carry out vaccinations
13th Dec 2017 - Globo.com

Influenza peak expected by Christmas

The incidence of influenza will increase towards Christmas, but it is probably not until after the new year that a big flu outbreak will come. These are the findings of a new report from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
12th Dec 2017 - Folkehelse Instituttet

Flu season brings questions AND concerns on effectiveness of immunizations

From Oklahoma, to Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky and now Texas, school districts across the country are canceling classes to prevent further cases of the flu. The latest case happened Insunnyvale, Texas, near Mesquite, when the flu outbreak forced Sunnyvale ISD to close schools as more and more students were absent because of illness.
12th Dec 2017 - Texomas

Brazos Co. epidemiologist: Report about flu vaccine efficacy is "not valid" for U.S.

A report from the NEJM has been circulating in the headlines, telling of a 10 percent efficacy of the flu vaccine in Australia. Often, these reports link the Australia numbers with the flu vaccine efficacy in the United States. The Brazos County Health Department says there is no connection. "There is no validity to that estimation," said Yao Akpalu, the Brazos County Health Department's epidemiologist. "That report originated in Australia... It does not reflect or predict what happens in the United States."
12th Dec 2017 - KBTX

Seasonal flu: Is it worthwhile to get yourself vaccinated if you are between the ages of 20 and 60 when you are in good health?

As part of the national flu vaccination campaign each year, people over 65 and immunocompromised patients are invited to get a flu jab free of charge to protect them from the virus that can be particularly virulent for them. For others, the young and healthy adults, the vaccination strategy around the flu does not really target them. But for all 20-60 year olds wanting to protect themselves against the flu, is it still worth it to get vaccinated? 20minutes discusses the issue
11th Dec 2017 - 20minutes.fr

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 13th Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Is "Man Flu" Real? Men Suffer More When Sick, Study Suggests

'Man flu' may have some scientific basis after all: men may really experience worse symptoms than women after catching a respiratory virus, a new review suggests. In a search of the scientific literature, Dr Kyle Sue found evidence that men may have a weaker immune response to the viruses that cause flu or the common cold, and as a result, men may have a greater risk for serious symptoms, and even death, from these viruses
12th Dec 2017 - Live Science

Man flu is real — and it's all women's fault, says scientist

12th Dec 2017 - The Times

Stop accusing men of overreacting – "man flu" really does exist ...

12th Dec 2017 - The Guardian

Does he have "man flu"? One researcher claims it's for real

12th Dec 2017 - USA Today

"Man flu" might be a real thing, scientific review suggests

12th Dec 2017 - The Globe and Mail

Laid up with "man flu"? It's real, researcher says

12th Dec 2017 - CNN

Nothing to sneeze at? Study says man flu could be real

12th Dec 2017 - RTE Online

Is The Flu Vaccine Effective? Conflicting Reports Raise Questions

As flu season begins across the U.S. concerns, are being raised about the effectiveness of the vaccine. Experts say this year’s flu shot might only be 10 percent effective against a prevalent strain of the virus, based on a study looking at Australia’s flu season. Speaking to WWJ Health Reporter Dr. Deanna Lites, Dr. Shaun Jayakar — a family medicine specialist from St. John Hospital in Detroit — said it’s too soon to draw these conclusions. The CDC recommends people get vaccinated against the flu
12th Dec 2017 - CBS Detroit

Yes, you got your flu shot … so why are you so sick?

12th Dec 2017 - Mercury News

Anti-vax views must not derail France’s compulsory vaccine law

France has the world’s worst anti-vax attitudes: a 2016 survey showed that 41 per cent of people there say vaccines are unsafe. A new law will take force there on 1 January to up the number of mandatory childhood vaccines to 11 from three. It has provoked a polemic, despite being sound. The problem seems to be the neglect by officials of the main drivers of vaccine hesitancy
12th Dec 2017 - New Scientist

Influenza peak time is approaching, how many will get sick over Xmas?

The influenza strain will increase towards Christmas, but the major outbreak probably occurs once after the New Year, according to the National Institute of Public Health. The virus types currently in circulation in Norway are A (H3N2 and Influenza B / Yamagata, which affected the elderly in last year's season. "It is the older age groups who are most seriously ill from influenza A (H3N2) and influenza B / Yamagata. Hospitalizations and deaths can be expected, says a spokesperson. Studies indicate that large sections of the population had good protection against influenza A (H1N1) and A (H3N2) influences before the start of the season, indicating that the outbreak of the year is getting less severe, with fewer ill than last winter.
12th Dec 2017 - Dagbladet.no

SRHD helps dissect study on effectiveness of flu vaccine

Spokane Regional Health District is stressing to the public that a study specific to Australia speaking to the effectiveness of this year's flu vaccines is not necessarily predictive of what we should expect in the U.S. Local health officials are still strongly recommending getting this year's flu shot. They believe that the influenza vaccination will provide meaningful protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and death
12th Dec 2017 - KXLY Spokane

Influenza is here! Expect a major outbreak just after New Year

The influenza strain will increase towards Christmas, but the major outbreak will probably occur just after the New Year, according to the National Institute of Public Health. "In most parts of the country there is currently very low influenza activity. However, we see a slight increase week by week indicating that an outbreak is on the cards. Many will probably be sick by Christmas, but it will be only after the New Year most will be affected, according to Siri H. Hauge, Department Director of the Public Health Institute .
12th Dec 2017 - Nordlys

Since flu clinics opened across the province on Oct. 23, there have been more than 250,000 doses of influenza vaccine administered as of Dec. 2

Dr. Saqib Shahab is impressed by the number of Saskatchewan residents who have rolled up their sleeves to get flu shots. From the time flu clinics opened across the province on Oct. 23, there have been 250,520 doses of influenza vaccine administered as of Dec. 2. That’s an 11-per-cent increase compared to last year (225,341 doses) and is more than the number for 2015 (224,953 doses) for the same point in the season
12th Dec 2017 - Star Phoenix

The Flu Shot Is Not Just About You

Richard Webby, PhD, member of the infectious disease department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and one of a select group of scientists responsible for determining which flu vaccines will be put into circulation each year, writes about the process behind determining the next flu vaccine and urges all to get vaccinated every year against the flu in order to protect themselves but also other, more vulnerable, people
12th Dec 2017 - Time

Why You Need the Flu Shot Every Year

A look at the process of determining the flu vaccine each year and its complexities: “Our vaccine process is sort of always one step behind because of this long production process and trying to update the vaccine to what’s circulating,” Dr. Scott Hensley, an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania, said. The World Health Organization meets twice a year, once for the Southern Hemisphere and once for the Northern Hemisphere, to examine global flu surveillance and recommend the flu strains they expect will cause the most illness. “This puts a huge burden on manufacturers,” Dr. Ruth Karron, an epidemiology professor, said. In the Northern Hemisphere, they learn the W.H.O. recommendations in February and have only about six months to make vaccines. They sell it very cheaply, Dr. Karron said, about $10 to 20 a dose, and have to throw away anything unsold at the end of the season
12th Dec 2017 - New York Times

Online map lets users see where the flu has struck

In Switzerland, grippenet.ch was launched on Monday. People are asked to join the site and answer a weekly questionnaire on flu symptoms, and the results are presented as a map. Some doctors disagree with the principle and would prefer data on the severity of the virus and whether the flu vaccine strains were well matched
12th Dec 2017 - 20min.ch

One Hasty Study Doesn’t Mean That “Man Flu” Is Real

Written by Canadian researcher and family medicine doctor Kyle Sue,a tongue-in-cheek journal article “explores whether men are wimps or just immunologically inferior” with regard to the flu. While the studies Sue cites are certainly reputable, that doesn’t actually mean the man flu as it’s commonly understood is real. Sabra Klein of Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and several other experts have criticized the conclusions of Sue’s research
12th Dec 2017 - Slate

NIAID Director Recounts Lessons from Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Anthony Fauci, MD, Director of NIAID since 1984, recently shared lessons learned from his tenure confronting emerging infectious disease threats through the span of 5 presidential administrations. Regarding the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, he writes that "This experience served as a striking reminder of the inadequacy of our pandemic preparedness capabilities and underscored the need, now being actively pursued, to develop platform technologies that can be applied rapidly to develop vaccines for evolving outbreaks"
12th Dec 2017 - MD Magazine

Hospitals working to stop spread of flu virus

Hospitals in the Ottawa area are asking for the community's help to reduce the spread of infection as the flu season came early this year. Staff at the hospitals will be stepping up prevention and monitoring during the peak of the season, which is expected to hit in the new year. Hospitalizations from influenza are already higher than expected
12th Dec 2017 - CBC.ca

The flu jab: Why you and your family need to get vaccinated

A mother talks about the flu complications that left her little girl with permanent brain damage and urges others to get vaccinated. The flu vaccine is free on the NHS for those who are pregnant or over 65, or have a condition that means they are more prone to developing complications from flu. Primary school children from reception class to year four are being offered nasal spray vaccine this year. Yet overall, just half of those eligible bother with the jab – well below the 75 per cent uptake the World Health Organisation advises
12th Dec 2017 - Express.co.uk

French flu jab campaign targets younger healthy people

The French annual flu vaccination campaign has reminded the public why it can be a good idea to get the jab, even if you are aged between 20-60 years old and in good health. Usually, the vaccination campaign targets vulnerable people aged 65 and over; those who have compromised immune systems; or those with historic health problems and offers free vaccinations for those in need. However, it has also warned that other groups could benefit from the injection too
12th Dec 2017 - Connexion France

Better flu prevention supported by private clinic federation in France

In France, a private clinics federation (FEHAP) is taking concrete measures to support better flu prevention, by covering all of its own staff's voluntary flu vaccinations. The federation is also asking its members to do the same for their employees. There is a high level of mistrust of vaccines in France at the moment
12th Dec 2017 - Caducee.net

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 12th Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Health authorities call for people to get vaccinated

Health authorities are calling for people to get vaccinated against seasonal influenza, particularly hose in at risk groups, as well as babies over six months old to adults, since both children and seniors are more vulnerable to contracting it. Currently included in the high risk group, are people with morbid obesity, heart disease, diabetes, lung conditions such as asthma, cancer and pregnant women, among others.
11th Dec 2017 - El Manana de Reynosa

Local regional health team dishes out 1,000 flu vaccination jabs to staff

The General Directorate of Municipal Health has applied more 1,000 vaccines against influenza to municipal employees who work in the Benito Juárez Administrative Unit, as well as in its dependencies that are located in other points across the region. Health personnel last week immunized an average of 250 people, who were among front line level employees. Some local citizens also attended and benefited
11th Dec 2017 - El Mexicano

Is this year's flu vaccine effective?

This year’s flu season may be shaping up to be particularly harsh, and the vaccine used this year may not be as effective as first thought, according to medical experts. Based on reporting about illness and deaths caused by flu in Australia which was higher than usual, the experts predict North America will also experience a more severe flu season. The flu vaccine used this year in the Southern Hemisphere has the same composition as the vaccine available in the United States. Unfortunately, this vaccine was only 10 percent effective at preventing H3N2
11th Dec 2017 - Lexington Dispatch

Improving Campaigns Regarding the Value of Adult Vaccines

While the public health value of vaccines is generally well-known in terms of disease prevention in infants and children, its role in improving adult health may be less obvious. Each year as many as 4000 and 49,000 deaths result from pneumococcal disease and seasonal influenza, respectively, in US adults for example. One of the goals of the Healthy People 2020 initiative is to increase rates of influenza vaccination in adults to 70% from the baseline rate of roughly 40%, but this is proving difficult
11th Dec 2017 - Infectious Disease Advisor

Amid questions on effectiveness, experts recommend flu vaccinations

Experts warn that this year’s vaccine could be only 10 percent effective against a strain of the virus H3N2 that is expected to predominantly circulate in the United States. But that 10 percent figure isn’t to say that vaccine holdouts should forgo the flu shot this season. Two experts explain that various factors mean that the flu vaccine will never be 100 percent effective; 50 percent to 70 percent effectiveness is considered a good year
11th Dec 2017 - Toledo Blade

Effectiveness of flu shot Is 60% -- in a good year

How many people get the flu in any given year depends in part on the effectiveness of the vaccine. In a good year, people who get vaccinated are 60% less likely to get sick, but in most recent years, the protection has been worse. Last year, it was 42% effective. In 2014-15, it was 19% effective. "While it’s imperfect, if you have a common disease with substantial morbidity and mortality, you prevent a lot of cases," says Richard Zimmerman, a flu epidemiologist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
11th Dec 2017 - Pharmacist.com

Call for more hospital beds to cope with winter breathing difficulties

A report from the British Lung Foundation says more and more people are ending up in an already hard-pressed A&Es because of the increase in breathing problems caused by air pollution, an ageing population and the long-term effects of heavy smoking. In the last seven years, lung disease admissions to hospitals in England and Wales have risen at over three times the rate of all other conditions, says the report. They are at their worst in the winter, often complicated by seasonal flu. The report recommends more effort to prevent illness, including ensuring people get a flu jab
11th Dec 2017 - The Guardian

Canadian doctor says there's evidence the 'man flu' is actually real

Dr. Kyle Sue, a clinical assistant professor in family medicine at Memorial University in St. Johns, decided to study the available research to see if he could settle the debate of whether 'man flu' is real with science. He concluded that there's evidence, albeit limited, that the man flu is actually nothing to sneeze at. He says the studies actually point to men having weaker immune systems than women. Sue admits the evidence is limited, particularly since much of it involved mice. He says more higher-quality research needs to be done
11th Dec 2017 - CBC.ca

We're missing out on a better way to make flu vaccines

The vast majority of flu shots in the U.S. are grown inside egg cells. Recent research suggests that viruses grown in eggs undergo a crucial change that makes the resulting vaccines less effective. Even though cell-based vaccine technology has been around for a while, pharmaceutical companies have been hesitant to make the switch. It’s expensive to make such a fundamental change to manufacturing, and there wasn’t evidence that the cell-based shot was any more effective—or in-demand—than the egg-based one.
11th Dec 2017 - Popular Science

Young leukemia patient emphasizes importance of getting flu shot

In Canada, the mother of a five year old girl being treated for leukemia is pleading for everyone to get a flu shot to help protect her child and other vulnerable people. Her family was at the hospital Sunday to back Health Minister Sarah Hoffman’s ongoing plea for more Albertans, particularly health-care workers, to get immunized against the flu
11th Dec 2017 - Edmonton Journal

Physicians stress flu shots after two influenza deaths

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is urging South Carolinians to get their flu shot. This is now the thick of what officials call the "peak flu season", between the months of December and February. Officials in the state are particularly concerned, after two deaths thus far this South Carolina flu season, according to DHEC stats
11th Dec 2017 - wach.com

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 11th Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Swine flu increases risk of heart attacks, strokes: Medicos

Amid nearly a dozen H1N1 deaths in Kashmir, a doctors’ body warned that swine flu patients are at an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke. DAK president Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan said flu vaccine is the single best tool to reduce risk of heart attack or stroke. “Studies have shown people who receive flu shots are 55% less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke,” he said
10th Dec 2017 - Daily Excelsior

Coahuila, fourth case of influenza

Coahuila is one of the states with the highest number of confirmed cases of influenza to date during the 2017-2018 season. In a week, Coahuila went from 8 to 13 patients affected by this disease, placing itself in fourth place in the country, next to Guerrero. They are preceded by San Luis Potosi, Colima and Nuevo León, which collectively account for 39.5 percent of the total number of positive cases (200). Until the end of the first week of Fecember, the General Epidemiology Directorate of the federal Ministry of Health had only reported 2 deaths due to influenza (1 from A (H3N2) and 1 from B) in Yucatan and Hidalgo.
10th Dec 2017 - El Siglo de Torreon

Brain drain: our default responses to flu

Dr Daniel Glaser, director of Science Gallery at King’s College London, writes: "Evidence suggests the walking patterns, sweat and facial expression of flu sufferers can reflect their infection before even they are aware of it. This may help others to steer clear. Internet activity is a promising avenue, too. The ‘Google flu trends’ project is currently suspended, in public at least, pending improvements. But within the rich mine of subconscious information we reveal through our searches, we perhaps find the earliest traces of infection"
10th Dec 2017 - The Guardian

Health Minister Sarah Hoffman urges everyone to get a flu shot

So far, more than one million Albertans have received flu shots this season, putting the province ahead of last year’s pace. As of Dec. 4, 55.5 per cent of Alberta Health Services employees were immunized, up from 41 per cent a month earlier. Health Minister Sarah Hoffman told reporters that 5.6 per cent more AHS workers in the Edmonton zone have been immunized than at this time last year. Hoffman speculated the higher uptake may have something to do with ease of access. Flu shots are available free at pharmacies, public health clinics and doctors’ offices. Mobile vaccination carts in hospital units make it easier for health care workers to get flu shots.
10th Dec 2017 - Edmonton Journal

All SHS students in Ashanti Region to be vaccinated against swine flu

In Ghana, students in all the second cycle institutions will be vaccinated against H1N1, Ashanti Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service has revealed. “Every student will be vaccinated to prevent it”, Dr. Emmanuel Tankorang said. According to him, now that the cause of the deaths of eleven students of Kumasi Academy (KUMACA) is known, the Service plans to vaccinate students in the region to prevent it
9th Dec 2017 - GhanaWeb

Looks like a rough flu season ahead. Here are answers to ALL your flu questions

The 2017-2018 flu season is off to an early start, potentially hitting highs during the end-of-year holidays. The predominant virus currently circulating tends to cause more cases of severe disease and death than other seasonal varieties. And the batch of vaccines for this year have some notable weaknesses
9th Dec 2017 - Ars Technica

Health authorities on alert over any possible mutation of the H3N2 virus

The Ministry of Health in Michoacan (SSM) is in a state of alert in case there is confirmation of a severe mutation of the serotype of influenza A H3N2, a researcher said said. In an interview with MiMorelia.com, the head of the department of epidemiology, Maricela García Arreola, explained that every year the influenza viruses serotypes A H1N1, A H3N2 and B mutate , so the vaccine has to be renewed every year. "In the winter season, the population is more exposed to influenza A and B viruses, as they spread easier and due to the very nature of these mutant agents, at the moment we do not have any official notification about a more aggressive change in H3N2. But we are ready if this occurs."
9th Dec 2017 - MiMorelia.com

Is the flu jab a waste of time? No, insists Dr Max Pemberton as experts answers vital questions about the vaccination

Dr Max Pemberton writes about his personal experience of the flu and why he is a passionate advocate of the flu vaccine, even if the flu vaccine does not offer total protection against the virus: "For me there’s no debate: the flu vaccine saves lives and it’s all our duty to get it"
9th Dec 2017 - Daily Mail

Health officials want to set record straight about flu shot effectiveness

Right now, more Iowans are hospitalized with the flu than at this time last year. They say even though we are a few months in we need to protect ourselves. Dr. Ann Garvey, deputy state epidemiologist, says that “it’s not a great comparison to look at what happened in Australia for vaccine effectiveness.” Right now there are fears of a "flu-pocalpyse" circulating after the New England Journal of Medicine reported a particular flu strain in Australia had a 10 percent success rate.“ Because one study says there’s 10 percent effectiveness in Australia, that does not necessarily translate to what we see here,” Garvey said
9th Dec 2017 - KCCI Des Moines

GPs directing patients away from your flu service? Here’s what to say

Lawyer Andrea James sets out some of the strategies pharmacists can use in a flu service dispute in the UK. Some GP practices have made "statements about the community pharmacy flu vaccination service that are – at best – misleading". She advises seeking an amicable resolution first
9th Dec 2017 - Chemist and Druggist

It's flu shot week and there"s "no shortage" of vaccines in Kalamazoo

Doctors know that what the U.S. experiences during its flu season will mirror how the Southern Hemisphere is impacted by the virus, Dr. Richard Van Enk, director of infection prevention and epidemiology at Bronson Methodist Hospital, said. Because Australia saw a large impact by the virus, the U.S. is expected to see a similar season Fortunately, there is "no shortage" of the flu vaccine this year, Van Enk said about the production and manufacturing of the vaccine
8th Dec 2017 - MLive.com

And Now To Finish 2017: The Flu Season Is Likely To Be Bad

As reported by the CDC, the flu strain that most affected Australia, A(H3N2), has been the main one making the rounds in the U.S. in October and November. It also appears to be the strain that recently killed Alani Murrieta, a previously healthy 20-year old Arizona mother of two. The speed at which she passed away, just one day after being diagnosed, was a stark reminder that even though young children and older adults are much more likely to have severe complications, the flu can be a very serious disease for anyone. Of note, Murreita did not get the flu vaccine
8th Dec 2017 - Forbes

Take extra special care over H3N2 virus this winter

According to the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER) influenza type H3N2 is much more contagious and harmful. Modification of this strain has occurred due to genetic changes of the virus and this year in Australia was one of the largest flu outbreaks in history, leaving two million people infected and more than a thousand deaths
7th Dec 2017 - Uno TV Noticias

Tough Flu Season Ahead: Vaccine May Only Be 10% Effective

The most common type of flu being seen in the United States is influenza A H3N2, the same severe strain that dominated last flu season. And in Australia, where the winter flu season has just wrapped up, this season's vaccine was only about 10 percent effective against the H3N2 strain. Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist in the influenza division of the U.S. CDC, urges everyone aged 6 months and older to get a flu shot, despite the low effectiveness. If you do catch the flu, Brammer suggests taking antivirals such as Tamiflu to reduce the number of days you are sick
9th Dec 2017 - Arkansas Matters.com

In The US, Flu Season Could Be Unusually Harsh This Year

8th Dec 2017 - KBIA

Nurses urged to get flu jab to save patients

Nurses are being urged by infection experts to have the flu jab to prevent serious risk to their patients and colleagues. Figures from the Infection Prevention Society (IPS) show that over half of frontline healthcare workers in England haven’t been vaccinated against flu so far this year. Whilst flu vaccination uptake amongst frontline health workers in England has increased to 46% in October 2017 compared with 40% in the same period the previous year, over half (54%) were left unvaccinated.
8th Dec 2017 - Nursing in Practice

Plea from infection control experts for nurses to get flu jab

8th Dec 2017 - Nursing Times

Flu vaccinations in Alberta surpass one million

More than one million Albertans have received the flu shot so far this season, which appears to put the province ahead of last year’s immunization pace. The province as a whole appears to have hit the one-million mark about a week or two earlier than last season. The uptake pattern may reflect that influenza seems to have been more active earlier in the season this year, and has hit Calgary the hardest so far.
8th Dec 2017 - Edmonton Journal

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 8th Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

CDC warns too few people have got the flu shot this year - meaning this year's impending outbreak could be even worse than we thought

Flu shot rates in the U.S. are lower than hoped this year, new CDC figures reveal as America hurtles towards one of the worst flu seasons in years: the rate of adults getting vaccinated against influenza this year has dropped 3.7 percent, meaning just a third of adults and children are protected. Just a third of pregnant women have received the shot. This year's flu shot is only 10 percent effective against the difficult-to-stop H3N2 strain, but doctors insist we cannot underestimate the importance of 'herd immunity', and that the shot may be more effective as lessening illness in those who do get sick
7th Dec 2017 - Daily Mail

UofL researchers develop novel flu virus and disease detection method

Using lasers, electricity, very thin film and their expertise in physics and biology, University of Louisville researchers have developed a method for early detection of diseases, such as the flu, dengue fever and even cancer. They hope that their approach eventually will lead to the production of hand-held medical devices with which doctors — in hospitals, homes and remote locations — can easily, quickly and cheaply detect potentially deadly and quickly spreading diseases
7th Dec 2017 - Insider Louisville

Virus test developed by 15 Hong Kong university students could mean difference between life and death in an epidemic

A faster and easier test for viruses has been developed by Hong Kong university students which could speed up treatment and save lives by allowing doctors to make quicker decisions and gain critical time when faced with the threat of an epidemic. The testing method has already been put to work on influenza A viruses in preliminary experiments, where it was able to identify subtypes in about an hour
7th Dec 2017 - South China Morning Post

Q&A: Why the flu vaccine isn't always effective

A doctor from Brigham and Women’s Hospital spells out what you need to know for the 2017-2018 flu season, and stresses the fact that getting a flu shot cannot give the patient the flu itself
7th Dec 2017 - Boston.com

Physicians Face the Burden of the Anti-vaccination Argument

Federal and global entities are dedicating time, effort and funds to persuade patients of the proven safety and efficacy of vaccinations, and to dismantle the arguments presented by anti-vaccination communities. The WHO’s Global Vaccine Safety Initiative page lists 6 of the most common misconceptions about vaccinations, with evidence to refute each point, backed by clinical research. The CDC, during its National Influenza Vaccination Week campaign this week, provided flu vaccination guidelines and a list of patient groups most at-risk for flu-related complications. There’s even been research put into better understanding the rhetoric of anti-vaccination
7th Dec 2017 - MD Magazine

Health experts urge the elderly to get vaccinated against the flu

Magdalena Hernández Valdez, a leading health epidemiologist, urged the community to get vaccinated against influenza, since it is an infectious disease caused by a virus, which is classified into different types A, B and C. The most common is type A virus, which affects the majority of the population. This is transmitted by different secretions such as coughing, sneezing or even talking. It is an infection of the respiratory tract, that if not treated in time and in an appropriate way, can be complicated, affecting the whole organism and leading to death.
7th Dec 2017 - Chihuahua State Government

NHS bosses sound alarm over hospitals already running at 99% capacity

In the UK, hospital trust chief executives have disclosed that they are running at close to 100% bed occupancy even before the expected bad weather and major flu outbreak this winter have arrived. Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said that while the government’s recent £337m injection of emergency funding was welcome, it had come too late to make much difference to hospitals’ winter planning.
7th Dec 2017 - The Guardian

NHS chiefs warn of "severe pressure" going into winter months

7th Dec 2017 - ITV News

A mother got the flu from her children — and was dead two days later

The sudden death from the flu of a 20 year-old woman is a shocking reminder of the importance of getting a flu shot. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and self-proclaimed proselytizer of the flu-shot gospel, said flu shots can cut the chance of infection in half. For vaccinated people who end up getting the flu, it typically makes the symptoms milder. Lastly, getting the shot decreases a person’s chances of passing the flu on to other people, including vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly. A recent study also showed vaccinations significantly reduced a child’s chances of dying from the flu
7th Dec 2017 - Washington Post

A Mother Got The Flu From Her Children - And Was Dead Two Days Later

7th Dec 2017 - NDTV

Local health experts uncertain of extent of flu vaccination effectiveness this season

As the U.S. flu season approaches its midpoint, health officials say it’s too soon to tell whether the vaccination’s atypical ineffectiveness at repelling the predominant strain in Australia will manifest here. “There’s no way to know if the flu vaccine is going to behave the same way as it did in Australia,” said Kendra Dougherty, an epidemiologist with the Oklahoma State Department of Health. “We’re not going to know vaccine effectiveness estimates until about January or February for the U.S. season.”
7th Dec 2017 - Tulsa World

Why the US Could Face a Devastating Flu Season

Experts say the United States is bracing for what could be a rough flu season. "Vaccine is the best preventive we currently have for flu. Take it,” Stephen Morse, PhD, a professor of epidemiology and an influenza expert at Columbia University in New York, told Healthline. “The alternative could well be worse. Even a relatively ineffective vaccine may reduce disease severity. You may get some protection, and preventing 60 percent of flu cases is theoretically enough to stop its spread. I’d gladly take those odds.”
7th Dec 2017 - Healthline

Flu Epidemic Expected to Hit Bulgaria in January

In Bulgaria, the Head National Health Inspector Dr. Angel Kunchev estimates that flu season will start in January. According to Kunchev, there’s an increased interest in vaccination against flu since last year. The current interest of Bulgarians to vaccinate is still pretty low, at around 3-4%. And yet, pharmacies are still unprepared for the current demand. Last year only 2% of the country was vaccinated
7th Dec 2017 - EU Scoop

Mainers Urged To Vaccinate Against A Coming ‘Brushfire’ Of Flu

Flu season is building momentum in Maine, with both outpatient medical visits and hospitalizations on the rise. Though numbers are still small, according to the most recent weekly report from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, experts say Mainers should expect more widespread illness as the season progresses. There’s still plenty of time to benefit from getting a flu vaccine, which are widely available at medical offices, pharmacies and other sites
7th Dec 2017 - Maine Public.org

Flu cases on up - but not as bad as predicted, GWH say

In the UK, Great Western Hospital's chief nurse Hilary Walker said that early indications were that this could be the busiest flu year in the last three. However, concerns that the UK could see a repeat of Australia’s recent flu epidemic – which left thousands seeking hospital treatment – were not yet apparent. GWH’s medical director Guy Rooney told the meeting that it was particularly important that children get vaccinated
7th Dec 2017 - Swindon Advertiser

Vermont warns of rough flu season, urges vaccinations

The Vermont Health Department says the state could be in for a rough flu season and it's advising people to get flu shots to protect themselves and others. Flu is already widespread in several other states. The Health Department says this year's vaccine works well against many flu strains, it's less effective against what's considered to be the dominant strain this year. Nevertheless, the flu shot can lessen the severity of the illness and for people at high risk it can be a life-saver
7th Dec 2017 - North Country Public Radio

GPs fear NHS crisis with hospitals full at start of winter

Data published by NHS England on hospital pressures show that 94.5% of general and acute hospital beds in England were occupied in the week from 27 November to 3 December. An NHS England spokesman said: 'The NHS has prepared for winter this year more intensely than ever before, developing robust plans to manage expected increased pressures, as well as create contingency plans to cover exceptional surges in demand. 'The public can continue to play their part by making sure they have their flu jab and by using local pharmacies and NHS 111 for medical advice, alongside other services.' Flu levels remain relatively low in England, but GP leaders have warned that a significant outbreak this winter could tip the NHS into crisis because of existing high levels of pressure on the service.
7th Dec 2017 - GP Online

PAHO expert issues an alert on a new influenza epidemic

The risk of a new influenza pandemic is constant every year. No one knows for sure when it might happen, but it can be anticipated that it will be a virus of lethality and that due to its characteristics it could not be easily detected by existing health surveillance systems, but it can affect a large number of individuals very quickly, said Ciro Ugarte, director of Emergencies in Health of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
6th Dec 2017 - La Jornada San Luis

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 7th Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

New National Survey Suggests a Combination of Education, Access, and Incentives May Help Increase Flu Vaccination on College Campuses

Although most college students in the U.S. (70%) believe it is important to get an annual flu vaccine, less than half (46%) say they typically get vaccinated, according to results from a new National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) survey. The survey also uncovered new insights into increasing participation in vaccination programs on campuses, with access to the vaccine at low or no cost (61%) and incentives, such as free food or gift cards (61%), rising to the top of offerings that students say would have a lot of impact on the likelihood of getting vaccinated
6th Dec 2017 - PR Newswire.com

New National Survey Suggests a Combination of Education, Access, and Incentives May Help Increase Flu Vaccination

6th Dec 2017 - Markets Insider

Judge Orders Nurses Opposing Flu Vaccination to Comply

Suffolk Superior Court's Robert Tochka has ruled that those represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association must adhere to the vaccination policy set forth by Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Judge Tochka's action was in response to a lawsuit filed by the association, which represents 3,400 employees at the facility, alleging the hospital's requirement amounted to unfair control over personnel. However, in his decision issued Nov. 29, the judge disagreed.
6th Dec 2017 - American Council on Science and Health

Can the flu vaccine fail?

The composition of this year's flu vaccine could be less effective than hoped, US experts fear. Experts point to the recent Australian flu epidemic. More than 215,000 cases were reported by the Australian Ministry of Health by mid-October - almost four times as many cases as there were during swine flu pandemic in 2009. What exactly does that mean for the northern hemisphere is not yet in clear but experts at the American National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH), writing in the New England Journal of Medicine suggest we are in for a difficult winter flu season
6th Dec 2017 - Hamburger Abendblatt

Health funds in future will be able to reimburse quadrivalent vaccinations

Health funds will soon be in a position to reimburse patients who get quadrivalent flu vaccinations, not just trivalent vaccinations as at present. This will be thanks to the Robert Koch Institute's STIKO committee recent decision to back this form of vaccination in mid-November
6th Dec 2017 - CHECK24

Influenza: Commission recommends quadruple vaccination

To date, the Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) has recommended triple vaccination as flu protection. Now it has changed its recommendation and is in favor of a quadrivalent vaccine. Whether the quadruple vaccine will be refunded by health insurer funds, however, is as yet still unclear
6th Dec 2017 - Gesundheitsstadt Berlin

Portalegre: Public health delegate calls for vaccination against extra strong flu virus strain

In Portugal, the Portalegre Public Health delegate, Margarida Silva, warned that the main flu virus that will circulate this winter is of a more aggressive strain, calling everyone to get vaccinated against the flu. Speaking to Radio Portalegre, Margarida Silva stressed the importance of vaccination, adding that health services in the district are "on constant alert" and are monitoring emergency patients with respiratory and influenza-like illness symptoms
6th Dec 2017 - Radio Portalegre

5E decide to go and get mass vaccinated to as a gesture of solidarity to protect the sick

Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin warmly commended local school Amaldi di Novi Ligure Language School and class 5E, in particular, who collectively decided to go and get mass vaccinated as a gesture of solidarity to protect a sick classmate.
6th Dec 2017 - Corriere della Sera

The effectiveness of the influenza vaccine questioned in Alberta

Health authorities in Alberta are asking the public to be vaccinated against the flu, despite indications that the vaccine given this season would not be effective against a dominant influenza strain. In the southern hemisphere, the vaccine was 10% effective for the H3N2 strain, which is expected to be the dominant strain in Alberta this winter. Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Alberta, says the warning signs in Australia indicate that health professionals should be prepared for the worst.
6th Dec 2017 - ICI.Radio-Canada.ca

Patients will have to "sleep, take paracetamol and pray": Concerned doctors warn the NHS will not be able to cope

Patients will have to 'sleep, take paracetamol and pray', concerned doctors have warned ahead of the impending winter crisis. The NHS is expected to face unprecedented pressure in the coming months, and GPs are echoing the widespread worries. One GP said: 'One flu epidemic and my out-of-hours service will be in meltdown. It literally will be survival of the fittest."
6th Dec 2017 - Daily Mail

What Australia's nasty flu outbreak tells us about what to expect in Kansas City

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said in a phone interview that he wanted to make one thing clear: some protection against the flu is better than no protection. “It’s always better — always better — to be vaccinated than not vaccinated,” Fauci said. Mary Anne Jackson, the chief of the pediatric infectious diseases section at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, said like Fauci, she wanted to make sure people aren’t deterred from getting the current vaccine
6th Dec 2017 - Kansas City Star

The flu season has started

Data released by the Japanese health ministry shows that the 2017-2018 flu season has begun. The start of this flu season has been marked by concern over a possible shortage of vaccine due to confusion that occurred during the decision-making process for vaccine production. The health ministry at first decided to produce a type of vaccine that it thought would be more effective against the flu than the type that was used in the last flu season. After drugmakers found that they could not produce the new type of vaccine as efficiently as they had anticipated, a decision was eventually made to produce the same kind of vaccine as last season. That led to a delay in the start of vaccine production and a potential shortage
6th Dec 2017 - The Japan Times

Flu season has arrived and it could be a bad one

Not only has flu season arrived early, but the U.S. may be particularly hard-hit. There are several different strains of flu viruses, and the main culprit in Australia was H3N2, but the flu vaccine was only 10% effective against that strain. Martin Hirsch, an infectious disease physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Infectious Diseases says that “even if the vaccine is only 10% effective against H3N2, the vaccine does protect against other strains that are circulating”
6th Dec 2017 - USA Today

Flu warning: Killer strain set to be worst ever - vaccine only '10 per cent effective'

The US should expect the worst flu season in recent years, according to an expert. An outbreak of the H3N2 virus is expected - the same virus that has given Australia the worst outbreak of flu in 50 years. Infectious diseases specialist, Dr Pritish Tosh of the Mayo Clinic, warned that early indications of this year’s flu jab were that it was just 10 per cent effective. In the UK, a Public Health England spokeswoman said: “Although the effectiveness the past winter for people over 65 was lower than hoped for, this varies each year and the flu vaccination remains the best protection we have against the influenza virus”
6th Dec 2017 - Express.co.uk

List: 10 must-have vaccines for all ages

In the Philippines, Dr. Cecilia Montalban, president of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination and member of the National Immunization Technological Advisory Group of the World Health Organization, explains the importance of getting vaccinated 'from womb to tomb', including an annual flu shot, and criticises the spreading of fake news on vaccines through social media
6th Dec 2017 - Philstar.com

Early predictions reveal flu vaccine isn't as effective as hoped

Early predictions reveal the flu vaccine isn't as effective as scientists hoped at keeping current circulating virus strains away. Doctors in Kentucky say the peak in flu season hasn't been hit yet, and that it's too early to tell if the vaccine is effective. Doctors don't want families skipping out on getting the vaccine this year just because of predictions
6th Dec 2017 - wkyt.com

A jab protects you against the flu

Austrian people are being reminded that the annual immunization campaign against influenza can be life-saving for chronically ill or elderly people, even pregnant women should get vaccinated. Viral influenza claims around 1,000 lives per year, according to health experts, who urge everyone to get vaccinated
6th Dec 2017 - Salzburger Nachrichten

Mountain States: Flu cases are increasing in the region

During the holiday season, experts with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are anticipating a spike in flu cases, with a continued increase during flu season. To protect the community, Mountain States Health Alliance in Tennessee is urging everyone to get a flu shot if they haven’t already
6th Dec 2017 - WJHL

Flu illness tracking season officially kicks off with Walgreen's latest Flu Index

Walgreens on Wednesday launched its first Flu Index for the 2017-18 season. The Flu Index is a weekly report that ranks the top markets and states for flu activity in the U.S., including Puerto Rico. Brownsville and Beaumont, Texas are among the top markets for flu this week, and Texas and Arkansas top the list of U.S. states with the most flu activity.
6th Dec 2017 - Drug Store News

December 3-9th is National Influenza Vaccination Week

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has declared the first week in December National Influenza Vaccination Week. This week heightens awareness that the flu vaccine is still available for those who have not protected themselves against the ruthless virus
6th Dec 2017 - wbta1490.com

Flu cases showing up earlier than usual, could be harbinger of bad season: experts

The influenza season in Canada could be shaping up to be a potentially nasty one, with a mixed bag of viruses already circulating in much of the country, say infectious diseases experts. There are also concerns that this year's flu shot may not be all that effective in preventing the respiratory illness. In its weekly FluWatch report, the Public Health Agency of Canada says the annual sneezing-coughing season began early this year — especially with illness due to influenza B — and the percentage of laboratory-positive tests for flu is higher at this point on the calendar compared with previous seasons
6th Dec 2017 - The Chronicle Herald

Flu season 2017: is it too late to get a flu shot?

Flu is widespread in Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Oklahoma, and about 2 percent of doctor visits around the country were for illnesses that looked like the flu. Though the flu vaccine may not be perfect, doctors say that it’s still a good idea to get it to protect not only one's own health, but also the health of loved ones.
6th Dec 2017 - Newsweek

Fast approaching flu season has doctors pushing vaccinations

Several U.S. states are already getting local flu virus activity, including Michigan. Dr. Dan McGee, Pediatric Hospitalist at Helen Devos Children's Hospital, says 10 people have been hospitalized in Michigan because of the flu. He says even though these numbers are low, influenza is no joke. "One of the things I think is important to know is that last year over 100 people died of influenza in the United States," Dr. McGee said
6th Dec 2017 - Fox17online.com

Prepare for an Early Flu Season

Flu is unpredictable, and even though the season is starting, the distribution of circulating viruses could still change. Lynnette Brammer, MPH, an influenza epidemiologist at the CDC, is puzzled by some of the things she's seeing in the U.S. data. For instance, there hasn't been that much illness yet among children, who are generally considered to be amplifiers of flu. The data suggest that kids who have been sick have been catching H1N1, but not H3N2. "I don't know what that means. But it's sort of intriguing," Brammer said
5th Dec 2017 - MedPage Today

More than 1.1 million people 65 and older have already been vaccinated against the flu vaccine

More than 1.1 million Portuguese aged 65 or older have already been vaccinated against the flu, according to new data from the Vaccinometer, released on Tuesday, which monitors influenza vaccination in priority groups. According to these indicators, since October 1, 58.3% of those aged 65 years and over have been immunized. 48.1% of those with chronic disease and 49.1% of health professionals with direct contact with patients also have been vaccinated against seasonal influenza.
5th Dec 2017 - TSF Online

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 6th Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Schnucks observes National Influenza Vaccination Week Dec. 6 – 12 with $10 gift cards for those who receive flu shot

Schnucks pharmacies are offering $10 Schnucks gift cards to all patients who get a flu shot at any of its 95 Schnucks Pharmacies between Dec. 6 and Dec. 12. as part of National Influenza Vaccination Week
6th Dec 2017 - St. Louis American

Flu vaccine recommended despite report questioning effectiveness

Some flu protection is better than none. That’s the advice of Dr. Michael Parry, director of infectious diseases at Stamford Hospital, in response to a recent study indicating this year’s flu vaccine may only be 10 percent effective. Parry said the report, published last week by the New England Journal of Medicine, should not deter people from protecting themselves against the flu
6th Dec 2017 - The Advocate

Influenza 2017-2018: worries about the impact of the H3N2 virus, there are fears about the flu vaccines efficacy

There are strong fluctuations in the amount and regional variations of U.S. of cases of influenza. There are even more worries about the real possibility of a very low level of protection offered by this year's flu vaccine against H3N2
5th Dec 2017 - Meteo Web

Flu vaccine gets bad wrap, but experts say studies could be flawed

Millions of Americans will get the flu vaccine, but a new study is raising doubts about this year’s flu shot. The confusion started when an article was published in the NEJM about the mismatching of flu viruses with vaccines. But the article applies to studies in conducted in Australia, not the U.S. Infectious disease physician Dr. John Venglarcik said the studies could be wrong. “The devil is in the details. You really have to look at these studies. That is why a true vaccine effectiveness really is not available for peer review for about 18 months after the season is over”
5th Dec 2017 - wkbn.com

Is it a crime to avoid vaccines? People who refuse are being punished with jail and job loss

As governments and communities reassess how to handle parents who hesitate or decline when offered vaccinations, they are also confronting notions about when a person’s choice be punished. Should the consequence for one person's health care choice look so similar to the ones society doles out for crimes?
5th Dec 2017 - Newsweek

More nurses having flu vaccination could cut absence rates, study shows

Persuading more nurses and other NHS staff to have the flu vaccination could dramatically reduce overall sickness absence rates, a study shows. Researchers from Imperial College London gathered data on immunisation programmes and NHS absences from four flu seasons starting in 2011. They collected information on 800,000 staff working at 223 trusts across England. They found that a 10% increase in the vaccination rate among NHS staff was associated with an identical fall in absences
5th Dec 2017 - rcni.com

Concerns raised in Alberta about flu shot's success rate against predominant strain

Health officials in Alberta say it's still important for people get flu shots, despite indications from Australia that the vaccine may not be effective against this year's predominant strain. Alberta Health Services said it's too early to speculate on the effectiveness of this year's vaccine, noting that several flu strains are circulating in Alberta. "These viruses are not identical to those in the southern hemisphere," AHS spokesperson Rob Gereghty said
5th Dec 2017 - cbc.ca

Two thirds of GPs say their practice will struggle to cope this winter

In the UK, medical practices warn that they are already at breaking point and in no position to absorb the normal seasonal rise in workload, let alone cope with a major flu outbreak - which has been widely predicted - or other surge in illness. A total of 68% of 633 GPs who took part in the GPonline poll said that their practice would struggle to cope this winter, while 90% said the NHS as a whole would struggle
5th Dec 2017 - GP Online

Early Flu Season Hits Mass., Amid Questions About Vaccine Match

"In the state and in the country, we seem to be having an earlier-than-usual flu season this year," said Dr. Larry Madoff, a director in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. "I'd say we're about three or four weeks ahead of where we would be in a typical year — but many years are atypical." The flu season usually peaks in late January or February, sometimes as late as March, but this year, some predictions warn that cases of flu could soar right around the winter holiday season.
4th Dec 2017 - WBUR

Bluewater Health anticipating increased emergency room demand

In Canada, a local hospital executive is asking people to help the community avoid emergency-room backlogs this month. Laurie Zimmer, vice-president operations at Bluewater Health, said people who have flu-like symptoms should be checking in with their family doctors or other primary health-care providers. Ditto for updating and filling prescriptions before Christmas and New Year’s arrive, she said, noting all primary care providers have information about the dates they’re closed. “We’re being prepared for increased volumes over that time,” she said
4th Dec 2017 - Sarnia Observer

That Flu Shot You Got This Year May Not Protect You. Here's Why

Long before the beginning of the flu season, scientists try to determine which strains of the virus will be most prevalent during a given season and concoct a vaccine with those strains in mind. This year, it seems, the scientists may have gotten it wrong, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. "Reports from Australia have caused mounting concern, with record-high numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications and outbreaks and higher-than-average numbers of hospitalizations and deaths," the researchers note. "However imperfect, though, current influenza vaccines remain a valuable public health tool, and it is always better to get vaccinated than not to get vaccinated," the team noted
5th Dec 2017 - Weather.com

How effective is the flu vaccine this year?

5th Dec 2017 - CBS News

"Tough Year" Expected for Influenza Season in US

This year’s influenza season is getting off to a brutal start, and making things worse, the flu vaccine is expected to be less effective than in past years, according to Anthony S. Fauci, director of the NIAID. The U.S. season is getting off to a roaring start, with serious outbreaks in the Southeast, particularly Mississippi and Louisiana. While the season starts in the fall, “you don’t get intense outbreaks until the end of December, beginning of January,” Fauci said
5th Dec 2017 - DrugWatch.com

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 5th Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Immunizations A Priority During National Influenza Week

With flu activity increasing and family and friends gathering for the holidays, now is a great time to get a flu vaccine if you haven’t already been immunized. National Influenza Vaccination Week is a time to highlight the importance of flu vaccine throughout the holiday season and beyond
4th Dec 2017 - CBS Local Las Vegas

National Influenza Vaccination Week: December 3-9, 2017

4th Dec 2017 - LEX18 Lexington KY News

Fight the Flu!

4th Dec 2017 - CDC.gov

Flu vaccine believed to be about 10% effective against influenza strain

Medical experts warn that the upcoming flu season could be more severe because of the vaccine's ineffectiveness. A report published in NEJM says this year's flu vaccine is only about 10 percent effective against the influenza A strain. One reason for the severe flu season may be because this year's vaccine may have been mismatched for other specific flu strains
4th Dec 2017 - Cleveland 19 News

Flu Shots Won't Be As Effective This Year, Researchers Say

4th Dec 2017 - Huffington Post Canada

Health officials: Flu shot may only be 10% effective this season

4th Dec 2017 - WKYC-TV

Health experts: This year's flu vaccine only 10% effective

4th Dec 2017 - Fox8.com

This year’s flu vaccine might only be 10% effective against predominant strain

4th Dec 2017 - Global News.ca

Experts Warn of Severe Influenza, Low Vaccine Efficacy

4th Dec 2017 - Medscape.com

Flu vaccine not as effective as hoped against this year's dominant strain

4th Dec 2017 - CTVNews.ca

Flu vaccine won’t be as effective this season, experts warn

4th Dec 2017 - Washington Times

North Somerset healthcare group lands contract to give flu vaccines across region

In the UK, North Somerset Community Partnership will be the lead provider of flu immunisations in schools across Bristol and South Gloucestershire from June 2018. The NSCP already provides the flu vaccine at schools in North Somerset where last year it achieved an uptake rate of 78 per cent – the highest in the South West. It will now lead sub-contractors Bristol Community Health and Sirona Care & Health to continue delivering the service after being awarded the contract by NHS England
4th Dec 2017 - Weston Mercury

Nationwide vaccine shortages could cause trouble for travellers

Popular vaccines, needed for travel to some areas, are getting harder to come by in Canada. Drug companies are accountable to the healthcare industry and the public. In March, Health Canada introduced mandatory reporting regulations which require manufacturers to publicly notify of all anticipated and actual shortages, as well as discontinuations on the Canadian Drug Shortage website. The good news, according to Tim Brady, a drug store owner and former head of the Essex County Pharmacists Association, is at least people are getting vaccinated. He said this year there was somewhat of a shortage for the flu vaccine, as there was such an uptake from the public to get it
4th Dec 2017 - CBC.ca

Flu Virus Can Be Deadlier Than War

Although modern medicine effectively controls many diseases, influenza remains difficult to protect against. The World Health Organization estimates that every year influenza kills 250,000 to 500,000 people around the world. To stop the next pandemic, scientists are now researching how to create a universal influenza vaccine
4th Dec 2017 - VOA News

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 4th Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Judge rules nurses at Brigham must get flu vaccines

In the U.S., a Suffolk Superior Court judge has ruled that unionized nurses at Brigham and Women’s Hospital must follow the hospital’s flu vaccination policy. The Massachusetts Nurses Association sued the Brigham in September over the policy, which requires all workers be vaccinated annually, with exceptions for medical or religious reasons. The union argued that the policy represented corporate overreach and would unfairly punish nurses — even result in their firing — if they chose not to get vaccinated
2nd Dec 2017 - The Boston Globe

Judge denies union request to block mandatory flu shot policy at Brigham and Women's Hospital

1st Dec 2017 - Beckers Hospital Review

Brace Yourself for a Miserable Flu Season: This Year's Vaccine Has Been Failing in Australia

“Reports from Australia have caused mounting concern, with record-high numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications and outbreaks and higher-than-average numbers of hospitalizations and deaths,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious, and his colleagues wrote in the NEJM. They added that vaccines may fail to protect against a certain strain of the virus called influenza A or H3N2. “Given that most of the U.S. influenza-vaccine supply is currently produced in eggs and the composition of the 2017-2018 Northern Hemisphere vaccine is identical to that used in Australia, it is possible that we will experience low vaccine effectiveness against influenza A viruses,” Fauci, his Australian counterpart, and two World Health Organization officials wrote
1st Dec 2017 - Newsweek

A virus mutation has made this year's flu vaccine less effective

2nd Dec 2017 - Quartz

"Flu-pocalypse" Predicted Due To Ineffective Flu Shots, Doctors Say

30th Nov 2017 - CBS Philly

National Influenza Vaccination Week: CVS Health encourages families to get their flu shots in preparation for peak flu season

CVS Health is encouraging families to get their flu shots during National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec. 3-9) in preparation for peak flu season. A recent survey released by CVS Health found that nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of Americans get a flu vaccine every year, or plan to get one this year
1st Dec 2017 - EPR Retail News

Flu jab side effects, if the vaccine is safe for children and how to get a free NHS jab at Boots, Asda and Tesco

Doctors recommend the flu vaccine as the best protection against the virus; the side effects are mostly mild and certain groups of people can receive it for free through the NHS in the UK. A universal flu vaccine is being developed and researchers at the University of Oxford are looking for 500 NHS patients to try it out
1st Dec 2017 - The Sun

New Year's Eve could see up to 467,000 Italians in bed as the virus peaks

More than 467,000 Italians may get to New Year and find themselves bed-ridden with the flu, if previous year's numbers are a reliable indication. The peak of the flu outbreak is expected to be around the end of the year, according to estimates from the Italian Society of General Medicine and Primary Care (SIMG). This year the influenza virus is less aggressive, but it will affect a greater number of people, as has already happened in the southern hemisphere. According to the latest data available, in 2016-17 there were 2,000 more deaths than during the previous seasonal flu period a year earlier. This is a figure in line with the European averages and the phenomenon could be repeated again this year.
1st Dec 2017 - Nuovo Sud

What diseases and viruses should you get vaccinated against?

Invited experts discuss the importance of getting a flu shot. Some stress vaccinations are better for more diseases like polio than the flu but all agree that at risks groups, in particular, would be better protected by a flu jab
2nd Dec 2017 - Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF)

Should NHS workers be made to have a flu jab to protect patients?

NHS bosses in Ipswich are struggling to convince their own staff to have a flu jab, despite a heightened campaign this year encouraging the public to get vaccinated. Health service workers are eligible for a free injection to protect patients, but uptake at Ipswich Hospital is currently at 52%, which is above the national average of 46% for 
acute trusts but below the target of 70%
2nd Dec 2017 - Ipswich Star

Flu is spreading fast this year, with a severe season possible

This year’s flu season is off to a fast start in the U.S. and early indications suggest that it may be more severe than the previous season. Four states currently have widespread flu activity, according to the CDC. Last winter there were none at this time. And it may be spreading fast. Dr. William Schaffner, who is involved in the CDC’s flu surveillance network in Tennessee, has noticed cases of influenza picking up "dramatically" in the last week
2nd Dec 2017 - NBCNews.com

Many health care workers do not know correct influenza precautions

In a small survey conducted at a St. Louis hospital, many health care personnel could not describe the correct transmission-based precautions for patients with influenza, and some even said they had reservations about the safety and effectiveness of the influenza vaccine. Researchers found that around 22% of staff surveyed expressed concerns about the safety of the vaccine and more than 27% did not agree that it was effective. Moreover, more than 28% said they would not get the vaccine if it was not mandatory
2nd Dec 2017 - Healio.com

National Influenza Vaccination Week highlights importance of continuing flu vaccination

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is highlighting the importance of the flu vaccine this week, which has been designated National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec. 3 to 9). Estimates from previous seasons show few people get vaccinated against influenza, or the flu, after the end of November, the CDC says. Only around 40 percent of the U.S. population recommended for the vaccine last season, reported receiving it by the end of November, according to the agency
3rd Dec 2017 - Aiken Standard

Flu shot may only bring some protection this year: disease expert

Officials are predicting this year’s flu season will be harsher than normal, and the flu shot may not be as effective at preventing the virus as it has been in the past. According to Health Canada, southern Alberta and southern Ontario have been the hardest-hit regions thus far. The virus has already killed five people in the Calgary area. "I think the bigger issue is what do hospitals do to get ready for what could be a big onslaught of cases around the holiday season," said Dr. Neil Rau, an infectious disease specialist
3rd Dec 2017 - CTV News

Is NZ ready for the next big pandemic?

New Zealand isn't prepared enough for a major pandemic, which could strike as swiftly as an earthquake and bring the country to its knees, researchers argue. The Ministry of Health recently updated its strategy and is now reviewing its readiness plans in the run-up to the centenary of the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed more than 8600 New Zealanders and infected 500 million people around the world
3rd Dec 2017 - New Zealand Herald

Rise in respiratory disease means a need to get a flu jab now

The Municipal Health Directorate of Lerdo says it has seen a 15 percent jump in the number of respiratory cases, as low temperatures arrive in the region. The director of the unit, Felipe Sánchez Rodríguez, said that an average of 60 to 70 people a day are being treated at the basic Municipal Health medical level. He said that this increase in respiratory diseases is common at this time of year and that the number one cause of attention is the rhinopharyngitis and pharyngotonsillitis. He explained that usually this type of infections have to do with viral-type diseases, so prevention is necessary to avoid them. He also said health authorities are seeing some cases of common cold and type B flu, which is why the main recommendation is to get vaccinated against the flu now
3rd Dec 2017 - El Siglo Durango

DGS health recommends flu vaccine and hydration against cold

In Portugal five regions are on a yellow alert due to low temperatures which weather forecasters predict will hit the region. The experts are strongly recommending getting a flu shot and keeping well hydrated against the cold
3rd Dec 2017 - Correio da Manhã

Stiko recommends quadruple flu vaccine

In Germany, the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) recommends a quadrivalent flu vaccine to protect against seasonal influenza. The recommendation of the quadruple flu vaccine was approved by the committee on November 14th. So far, the standard recommendation of the Standing Vaccination Commission at the Robert Koch Institute for seasonal flu protection has been the triple flu vaccine. This new recommendation comes into effect in February next year
3rd Dec 2017 - NOZ - Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung

Anti-vax pamphlets flooding mailboxes

In a region of Northern Australia, a pamphlet circulating reads: "Vaccination Killed My Baby". Other headlines include: "Is the HPV vaccine causing infertility?", "Is the flu vaccine killing our elderly" and "Vaccines and Autism". The source of the pamphlet is unknown, but there are several websites and additional sources suggested. The North Coast Public Health Unit would not comment on the pamphlet but said there was "overwhelming scientific evidence that vaccination is safe and effective in preventing disease" and said they continued to work towards increasing immunisation rates on the Northern Rivers
4th Dec 2017 - The Northern Star

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 1st Dec 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Vaccinations in pharmacies becoming more popular

From January 2018, pharmacists in the Swiss canton of Bern will also be allowed to vaccinate. A few days ago, the government council created the legal basis for vaccinating in pharmacies, following on the back of a trial pilot involving a few trained pharmacists. In other cantons, it has become apparent that pharmacy-based vaccinations are becoming increasingly popular with the public, as their main contact point, especially with regard to the flu vaccine. According to the pharmacy association PharmaSuisse, demand has doubled during this season compared to a year earlier
30th Nov 2017 - Apotheke Adhoc

Diabetics ought to get vaccinated against flu this winter

Doctors at the Center for Diabetes, at the CJD Berchtesgaden, recommend that people with diabetes should be vaccinated to protect themselves from the flu during the winter months. These experts published a press release, pointing out the special risks diabetics run if they do not get vaccinated
30th Nov 2017 - Heilpraxisnet.de

Pharmacies seeing a 12% drop in flu vaccine sales this year

Portuguese pharmacies sold 57,000 flu vaccines less this year than at the same period last year, the National Association of Pharmacies (ANF) said on Thursday. There are 2,500 pharmacies that are authorized to administer the vaccine. In contrast, on Tuesday, the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) revealed that more than 1 million influenza vaccines have been administered by the National Health Service (NHS) since October, an increase of 19 percent over the same period of last year
30th Nov 2017 - Observador

Thirty Neuchatel pharmacists now authorized to vaccinate the public

This Friday, about twenty Neuchâtel (Switzerland) pharmacies will offer their customers the chance to be vaccinated against the flu, without prescription, for a recommended price of 30 francs. Even though the Swiss National Vaccination Day of November 3rd is long past, the campaign to get people vaccinated against the flu continues apace
30th Nov 2017 - Arcinfo

Ahued Ortega: Influenza vaccine is free and it is very effective

The Secretary of Health of the Government of Mexico City, Armando Ahued Ortega, called for people in the capital to get vaccinated against influenza, as he says it is very effective and free. Ahued Ortega asked them to ignore myths about flu vaccinations and protect themselves during the winter season, since flu shots are safe and free and protect against three strains of the virus: A H1N1, A H3N2 and type B and the maximum level of protection is reached within 40 days
30th Nov 2017 - Noticieros Televisa

The flu season gets off to an early start — and may shift into high gear around the holidays

Flu season in North America is off to an early start this year, and may be on track to peak over the holidays, influenza experts say. The H3N2 component in this year’s flu shot is identical to the one that was in last year’s flu shot (when it only lowered the risk of infection with H3 viruses by about 34%). In Australia — where the same component was used — the protection was lower still. A commentary published in the NEJM pegged the preliminary vaccine effectiveness estimate for the H3N2 component of the vaccine at 10% because of a major mutation that developed when those viruses were grown in eggs
30th Nov 2017 - Stat News

Australia's flu season has US health officials bracing for a bad winter — and wishing for a new vaccine

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the NIAID, warned that the U.S. could experience a “relatively severe influenza season.” If so, it would extend a run of bad luck that began in 2014, when the available flu vaccines proved to be a poor match for the most common viruses in circulation. In Australia, public health officials reported record-high rates of flu, as well as above-average numbers of hospitalizations and deaths. The most common flu strain there was the influenza A virus known as H3N2, and the vaccine given to Australians had an effectiveness of only 10%
30th Nov 2017 - Los Angeles Times

Health worker firings spark debate on mandating flu vaccine

Essentia Health employees with any patient contact were required to get vaccinated against the flu or risk termination, which has now happened to 50 of them. Gaston De Serres, MD an epidemiologist at the Institute National de Sante Publique du Quebec, said that mandates like Essentia's are at best misguided attempts at patient protection, and at worst, a rule that's based more on ideology than science. "I have concern that when you mandate immunization this way, it's as if it were a magic bullet," said De Serres. "A healthcare worker who comes to work when sick is of much greater concern as a danger to patients." Earlier this year, De Serres co-authored a paper published in PloS One that showed little or no protection was extended to patients when healthcare workers had received flu shots
30th Nov 2017 - CIDRAP

CVS Health to mark National Influenza Vaccination Week

With flu season set to kick into gear soon, CVS Health is marking National Influenza Vaccination Week by reminding patients to get their flu shots. The CDC established the week of awareness to remind patients to get vaccinated. CVS recently ran a survey that found that 61% of patients get a flu vaccine every year, or plan to get one this year
30th Nov 2017 - Drug Store News

Chasing Seasonal Influenza — The Need for a Universal Influenza Vaccine

Reports from Australia have caused mounting concern, with record-high numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications and outbreaks and higher-than-average numbers of hospitalizations and deaths. Influenza A (H3N2) viruses predominated, and the preliminary estimate of vaccine effectiveness against influenza A (H3N2) was only 10%. The implications for the Northern Hemisphere are not clear, but it is of note that the vaccine for this upcoming season has the same composition as that used in the Southern Hemisphere. It is time to consider whether our current vaccines can be improved and whether longer-term, transformative vaccine approaches are needed to minimize influenza-related morbidity and mortality
29th Nov 2017 - New England Journal of Medicine

This Flu Season Could Be a Whopper, Officials Warn

30th Nov 2017 - Live Science

Doctors Warn This Winter's Flu Season Could Be Especially Bad

30th Nov 2017 - Time

Why was the flu vaccination so ineffective?

30th Nov 2017 - Australian Journal of Pharmacy

Flu cases continue to climb in Colorado

More people are being hospitalized with the flu this year than this time in the last five years, and doctors in Colorado predicted it would be an active season. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released its latest numbers Wednesday. So far, 210 Coloradans have been hospitalized with flu this year. That's compared to 64 people at this time in 2016, the release said. It's the highest rate of hospitalizations compared to the last five flu seasons.
30th Nov 2017 - The Denver Channel

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 30th Nov 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Hiring spree for nurses as winter flu season looms

In Hong Kong, the Hospital Authority has hired 1,607 full-time nurses since October to deal with the coming winter flu season, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said. The flu vaccination subsidy scheme, which targets high-risk groups - was launched last month. So far, more than 400,000 flu shots have been given to people, a 1.9 percentage point increase over the same period last year
30th Nov 2017 - The Standard Hong Kong

Vaccines and anti-viral drugs advised as flu season peaks in UAE

With an apparently stretched flu season and severe cases of coughing and sneezing, UAE doctors are asking residents to take precautionary measures to stop the spread of influenza. The Ministry of Health and Prevention has also said that the number of influenza cases reported at the national level are slightly higher this year. However, no statistics were available on the number of cases or the number of vaccines since the start of the season
29th Nov 2017 - ZAWYA

Flu prevention for diabetics is particularly crucial

The consequences of flu can be very difficult especially for chronically ill people like diabetics. A high fever due to flu often confuses blood sugar. This leads to serious blood sugar imbalances. Every year, there are up to 25,000 influenza-related hospitalizations in Germany and several thousand people die of influenza
29th Nov 2017 - bgland24.de

​Marcelo gets vaccinated to set an example for others to follow

In Portugal, Minister of Health Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa got his flu vaccination in order to demonstrate to others the importance of flu prevention and in the hope that many others would follow his lead
29th Nov 2017 - Renascença

Alentejo has already given out almost 60,000 flu vaccinations to those people who are most at risk

Of the 86,000 flu vaccine doses that the health service had freely available in the region of Alentejo, Portugal, it has already used 57,604 doses, which corresponds to 67% of the total. These figures exclude vaccines purchased directly from a pharmacy by people not eligible for free vaccination, the numbers of which have not yet been determined
29th Nov 2017 - Rádio Campanario

Flu alerts using the digital tools available

In Portugal, if you are over 65 and have a mobile phone, be prepared to receive a text from the Ministry of Health asking if you have already got vaccinated against the flu. It is a promotional message, complementary to the ongoing campaign stressing the importance of being immunized against the virus, and which is part of a set of various new measures being implemented.
29th Nov 2017 - TSF Online

More than a million vaccinated against flu

The Portuguese National Health Service has administered more than one million flu vaccines since October, which is up almost 20 percent on 2016. Health officials said 1.4 million vaccines were purchased to counter flu this winter, with the elderly, diabetics and firefighters receiving free vaccinations
29th Nov 2017 - The Portugal News

Flu jab take-up improves among Brighton hospital staff

A higher percentage of staff at Brighton’s main hospital have had the flu jab this year, chief executive Marianne Griffiths said. More than four in ten staff at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust have been vaccinated compared with slightly fewer than four in ten last year. Mrs Griffiths told the BSUH board that more staff were being encouraged to have the jab to improve protection for staff and patients still further
29th Nov 2017 - Brighton and Hove News

BMA fails to act on C+D's "political" letter on flu service rivalries

The British Medical Association has failed to act on C+D’s open letter about flu service rivalries, instead labelling it a “political piece”. C+D had written to Andrew Green, GP clinical and prescribing policy lead at the BMA, urging him to issue a statement calling for BMA members to collaborate with local pharmacies, and denounce the use of tactics designed to restrict patients’ freedom to choose where they receive their flu vaccination
29th Nov 2017 - Chemist+Druggist

Bolton taxi driver joins Greater Manchester flu vaccination campaign

In the UK, a Bolton taxi driver is helping to help drive home Greater Manchester’s flu campaign. Mustahsan Shahzad is part of a major push to raise awareness and help reduce pressure on the health service, and wants to help encourage people to get their flu jab with his newly-branded cab carrying the 'Stay Well This Winter' branding, reminding people to get their vaccination
29th Nov 2017 - The Bolton News

Midwest Health System Fires Staffers for Not Getting Flu Shot: Public Health Watch

In the U.S., Essentia has recently fired 50 employees for not complying with its new compulsory flu vaccination policy. Until last year, its influenza vaccination program was voluntary, and some 70% of staffers participated, company officials said, but this has now reached 99%. On Twitter, public response to Essentia’s decision to terminate non-compliant employees was mixed, with vaccine skeptics weighing in heavily as well as those concerned with workers’ rights-related issues
29th Nov 2017 - Contagionlive.com

105,000 doses of vaccine flown into Kyrgyzstan to kick-start influenza immunization campaign

WHO and the Ministry of Health of Kyrgyzstan encourage health-care workers and those at risk of influenza-related complications to get vaccinated against influenza during the immunization campaign that starts in the country on 28 November 2017. An additional 105,000 doses of influenza vaccine were shipped to Kyrgyzstan to allow more people to be vaccinated. The Ministry of Health received the supplementary vaccines under the Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction project, which is coordinated by the Task Force for Global Health and funded by the U. S. CDC
29th Nov 2017 - World Health Organization

Health Care Personnel Work Despite Having Influenza Symptoms

More than 40% of health care personnel with influenza-like illness work while ill, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control. The highest frequencies of working with ILI occurred among pharmacists (67.2%) and physicians (63.2%)
29th Nov 2017 - Psychiatry Advisor

Don't let it spread: doctors in UAE offer latest advice as flu season arrives

UAE hospitals and clinics are bracing themselves for the onset of flu season but are not expecting an increase in the number of cases seen last winter. People are advised that the best way to prevent the disease and its serious complications is to get seasonal influenza vaccination every year, especially if they belong to an at-risk category
29th Nov 2017 - The National

How A Vanderbilt Doctor Became The Nation's Go-To Flu Expert

Dr. William Schaffner says that one of the problems we are faced with the flu is that "because it’s annual, people take it for granted. Whereas from an infectious disease doctor’s perspective, flu is serious." To get more people on board, Schaffner is promoting trendier research about longer-term complications from flu like heart attack and stroke
29th Nov 2017 - Nashville Public Radio

Call for calm as Savona runs low of flu vaccines: "Tomorrow we will have enough in stock"

In Italy, Renato Giusto, Savona's chief family medical professional and chairman of the municipal council, spoke to tone down the alarm sounded by his colleague, Angelo Terisdio, who said that Savona running out of flu vaccines might mean it could take days for health authorities to restock. The flu outbreak proper will be at the end of the year and ASL has assured us that we will have new supplies very soon indeed, he concluded
29th Nov 2017 - rsvn.it

Top infectious disease doctor calls for new flu vaccines

Doctor Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health has been closely following flu trends for years. He agrees that Australia's record-high flu season could signal for problems for the U-S. Fauci says part of the problem is that the current vaccine was only 10-percent effective against the dominant flu strain circulating there. He is calling for a faster way to make vaccines than the egg-based method
29th Nov 2017 - 6abc.com

AAFP Joins Call for Fully Funded Immunization Program

A robust immunization infrastructure is needed for vaccines to reach their full potential of saving lives and preventing illness, and in the U.S., the AAFP recently signed on to a letter reminding lawmakers that this requires adequate funding in 2018. "Vaccines are one of the greatest success stories in public health and are among the most cost-effective ways to prevent disease," the letter stated. "However, purchasing vaccines is not enough to protect a population."
28th Nov 2017 - American Academy for Family Physicians

Flu vaccines are 'sold out' in the Province of Savona

Health authorities have temporarily run out of the flu vaccine in the Province of Savona in Italy, according to general manager of ASL 2, Eugenio Porfido. The campaign to get at risk groups vaccinated was more successful than anyone anticipated and this has led to an unexpected depletion in vaccine stocks
29th Nov 2017 - SavonaNews.it

Influenza vaccine supplies have run out: GPs and Families in Savona are concerned

29th Nov 2017 - Il Secolo XIX

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 29th Nov 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Flu vaccinations are now free for diabetics and firefighters

Influenza vaccines are free for people who are diabetics all the way to firefighters who deal directly with patients. The widening of the vaccination campaign also helps explain the clear increase in the number of people getting vaccinated this year compared to 2016.
28th Nov 2017 - RTP

Director General of Health confirms that getting a flu jab does not cause any unwelcome side effects

Director- General for Health reaffirms that flu vaccines do not cause any unwanted secondary side effects. "The vaccine is made of inactivated viruses and has no potential to infect," said the director general of Health, Graça Freitas, considering it to be an urban myth that people can contract influenza simply by getting vaccinated.
28th Nov 2017 - Diário de Notícias - Lisboa

More than 1m flu shots have been given since October

Since the Seasonal Health Plan entered into force on 1 October, 1.1 million influenza flu shots have been delivered, according to data from the Directorate General of Health. This represents a 19% increase over 2016 figures for the same period. In total, Portugal bought 2 million vaccines, 1.4 million by the State and another 600,000 doses were bought by the pharmaceutical groups
28th Nov 2017 - Público.pt

Padova - very high demand from locals to get vaccinated against the flu and the supply ran out

Over the last few weeks, the demand for flu shots was so high that the health authorities in Padua have had to order more flu shots, another 3,000 doses in fact. Local health authorities in Padua had already distributed 88,000 flu vaccine shots by early November. "The vaccine campaign is going even better than last year, so many citizens are seeking to get vaccinated," said Dr Lorena Gottardello, "several GPs have finished the vaccine vials and have asked for more doses. " Each day, about two hundred people are immunized at Via Scrovegni, this represents, on average, one every five minutes.
28th Nov 2017 - Il Mattino di Padova

Russian hackers behind fake news over the UK's vaccination programmes

In the UK, a former National Counter Terrorism Security Office head has warned that Russian hackers are spreading disinformation and fake news over flu and measles vaccination programmes run by the government. The British government has asked departments and officials to monitor social media and to flag articles that disinform the public about vaccination programmes.
28th Nov 2017 - TEISS

How Bad Will the Flu Season Get? Forecasters Are Competing to Figure it Out

From analyses of surface protein evolution to tweets on social media, scientists are gathering all the data they can to accurately predict influenza dynamics. To advance flu forecasting efforts, the CDC launched its first forecasting challenge during the 2013-2014 flu season with a first-place prize of $75,000. Since then, the monetary award has gone away, but teams have continued to participate for the honor of providing the most accurate forecast for the start of the flu season, how bad it will get over the course of the season, and when cases will peak
28th Nov 2017 - The Scientist

A national symposium will examine the challenges and opportunities for vaccination across the health sector

An inter-institutional symposium called 'Vaccinate to promote healing' is bringing together health professionals from across Mexico to discuss to advances in vaccines and vaccination, training for professionals and valuable lessons for the sector to heed.
28th Nov 2017 - Hoy Tamaulipas

Why Do We Still Grow Flu Vaccines in Chicken Eggs?

There have been advancements in non egg-based methods of flu vaccine development, as it is imperfect. A CDC spokesperson said there are two options: a cell-based flu vaccine that can be produced more quickly than an egg-based vaccine, or a recombinant influenza vaccine, which can be produced faster than both egg-based and cell-based vaccines
28th Nov 2017 - Healthline

Get anti-influenza drugs within 48 hours: UAE ministry

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) said that at the start of the flu season, the recorded cases are at the expected level at this time of the year. MOHAP works with local health entities to strengthen national influenza response capacities including diagnostics, antiviral susceptibility monitoring, disease surveillance and outbreak responses, and to increase vaccine coverage among high-risk groups, the ministry said
28th Nov 2017 - Khaleej Times

Get anti-influenza drugs within 48 hours: UAE ministry

28th Nov 2017 - Menafn.com

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 28th Nov 2017

    View this newsletter in full

UK health officials fear Russian cyber units are "spreading false information" on flu and measles jabs

Experts are warning that Russian cyber units are spreading false information about flu and measles jabs in the UK. In an apparent attempt to erode trust in US and European governments, state-sponsored units are using social media to spread lies, the Mirror reported. The Kremlin is believed to be attempting to foster distrust over flu jabs and the MMR measles vaccines
27th Nov 2017 - International Business Times UK

Russian cyber units "spreading slurs" online about flu and measles

27th Nov 2017 - The Sun

In the Northeim region there's some confusion about vaccines

In Germany, the standard serum recommended by the Standing Vaccination Commission, which is available in most medical practices, works against two A-influenza virus strains and one of the much less common B strains. It is possible to vaccinate against four strains of the flu virus but the state health schemes do not because they are bound to the three strain solution. The four strain is available to those paying privately
27th Nov 2017 - HNA.de

Get vaccinated against the flu - health experts advise

The Oberbergischer Kreis health department is urging the elderly and chronically ill patients to get vaccinated against the flu. Life threatening complications such as pneumonia and inflammation of the heart can be caused by the flu. It is estimated that 8,000 to 10,000 people in Germany die of the flu each year. So experts strongly advise vaccination protection
27th Nov 2017 - Focus Online

Withdrawal of flu vaccine batch from Saudi market sparks fears over safety

Safety fears broke out among the public when the Saudi Health Ministry announced it had withdrawn quantities of seasonal flu vaccines. The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) released a related confirmation adding that the move was “precautionary"
27th Nov 2017 - Arab News

Toolbox to connect journalists, researchers goes online

A health toolbox to connect African journalists to researchers, including the wider science journalism community, fast and on demand, is now available at https://healthtoolbox.wfsj.org/ A resource centre which covers basic data on infectious diseases, including 11 factsheets covering basic facts on Infectious Diseases (ID) such as Ebola, Hepatitis C, malaria and pandemic influenza is available
27th Nov 2017 - New Vision

The Health Secretariat reports there are enough flu vaccine doses in Leon and the surrounding state area

In Mexico, the Health Secretariat reports there are enough flu vaccine doses in Leon and the surrounding state area. Over 400,000 flu vaccine doses have already been given. There is also enough oseltamivir to treat patients who might catch the infection
26th Nov 2017 - Periodico Correo

There is still time to get a flu shot - Dr Javier Zermeno Guerra

There is still time up to December to get vaccinated against the seasonal virus in Mexico. The people most at risk are those with pre-existing health conditions and the elderly. For them getting a flu jab is an absolute must. It is just as important for other high risk groups such as children, pregnant women, people with obesity and diabetics - all of whom could be vulnerable to secondary infection if they catch flu
26th Nov 2017 - La Orquesta

General Influenza News - Seqirus Media Monitoring - 27th Nov 2017

    View this newsletter in full

Russian cyber units "spreading false information about flu and measles jabs in the UK"

Russian cyber units are spreading false information about flu and measles jabs in the UK, experts warn. The state-sponsored units are spreading the lies on social media to destabilise Britain, it is claimed. Health chiefs have had emerg­ency meetings over the spread “fake news” over vaccination campaigns
27th Nov 2017 - Mirror.co.uk

Some MRT stations giving flu shots