Flu Vaccination: Best Protection Against Antiviral-Resistant Flu Strains

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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The Department of Health (HEALTH) wants to inform all Rhode Islanders that this year, it is even more important to get your annual flu vaccination. Recent information released from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the most common strain of the flu that is circulating this flu season is resistant to the antiviral most commonly used for treatment.

According to the CDC, last year, only 11 percent of patients who were tested had a strain of the flu that was antiviral-resistant. This year, 99 percent of patients who were tested have a strain of flu that is antiviral-resistant.

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“An annual flu vaccination is still the best and easiest way to protect people from the flu,” said Director of Health David R. Gifford, MD, MPH. “This recent finding of influenza’s widespread resistance to medication makes it even more important for everyone, especially those at high risk, to get vaccinated this year.”

HEALTH provides flu vaccine for all children, adolescents and adults in the state. There is still plenty of vaccine available in the state. Typically, it takes the body 10-14 days to develop immunity after receiving a flu vaccination. Historically, flu season in Rhode Island peaks in late January and early February. Currently, there is sporadic flu activity in the state but we are seeing outbreaks in other states.

Every year, some 36,000 people in the United States die from influenza and its complications. CDC recommends that the following groups should get a flu vaccination every year:

-- Children ages 6 months to 18 years of age.
-- Anyone age 50 or older.
-- Anyone who is a resident of a long-term care facility.
-- Anyone who has a chronic, long-term health condition such as heart or lung disease, asthma or diabetes.
-- Anyone who has a weakened immune system.
-- Any woman who is pregnant.
-- Any healthcare worker who provides direct patient care.
-- Anyone who lives with or cares for someone in one of the above categories.

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