Centennial of Death: The Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918
It is recommended that all children be vaccinated at 6 months of age, with special emphasis on the importance of protecting children from under 5 years old and children with respiratory diseases. asthma) or other health problems. But it is also recommended for all adults to get vaccinated and anyone who acts as a caregiver for people most vulnerable to the flu (babies under 6 months or elderly or sick). Infected pregnant women are also at higher risk of serious or life-threatening illness and should prioritize the influenza vaccine.
"When children get vaccinated, they end up protecting the most vulnerable people. around them, especially older people, "said Michael Worobey, head of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, who is working on the evolution of the flu virus of 1918. "The nice thing is that even if the vaccine does not work perfectly in an elderly person, if the people around this elderly person, including grandchildren , are vaccinated, it will have an impact. "
The flu is a miserable disease, even when it's not deadly. "Although we know that some people are at higher risk, we can not predict who could have serious consequences," said Dr. Lisa Grohskopf, a physician in the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention. of the CDC's Influenza Division She said that although children with chronic diseases are at higher risk of getting sicker when they catch the flu, "a significant proportion of children who die each year have no underlying illness. core ". There were 183 child deaths in 2017-18, she said, which was higher than in recent seasons. Already this year, at least one child has died of the flu.
There is no good way to predict for now if we are considering a particularly bad flu season this year. Last season was described as severe, said Dr. Grohskopf, and it lasted a long time. C.D.C. the reports and monitoring for the new season have just begun.
The flu vaccine needs to be reformulated every year to protect against the viruses most likely to be active this season – some years, predictions and protection are better than others. However, vaccination usually means a degree of protection against very serious diseases. And in addition to protecting you from both influenza A, H1N1 and H3N2 strains, the flu vaccine is very effective at creating immunity against influenza B, says Dr. Worobey, who gets less publicity but actually causes more deaths than the H1N1.
Dr. Grohskopf said that vaccination coverage tends to be better in young children, and then begins to decline, so that it is the lowest in young adults. Last season, 67.8% of children aged 6 months to 4 years were vaccinated, but only 47.4% of 13 to 17 year olds. It's a lot of exposed children.