SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Department of Health’s slogan is “Two weeks of sick leave or one flu shot. You do the math.” Doctors tell KELOAND News that this year’s flu vaccine is proving very effective. The latest studies show it kept many people out of the hospital.
The flu vaccine usually targets 3 to 4 strains of the flu scientists expect to be most prevalent. This year’s flu vaccine was developed last year.
Dr. Jeremy Cauwels with Sanford says the scientists developing the vaccine for the northern hemisphere did a good job of identifying which strains of the flu would hit our area. In an average year, the vaccine will prevent about 25 percent of people getting it from needing to go to the hospital.
“This year we approached 50, so people who got the flu vaccine were 50 percent less likely to end up needing an emergency room visit or the hospital than the same person if they didn’t get vaccinated with the flu,” said Cauwels.
The flu peaked in KELOLAND right before Christmas and now appears to be waning.
“You can still get your flu shot, and the CDC is still recommending it, but we are tailing our way out of the flu season, and so this is the first data, and we are seeing it in 3 different studies show that the flu shot really did its job well this year,” said Cauwels.
The flu hits the southern hemisphere before it makes its way to us, so we can see which strains are likely to appear in the U.S. The World Health Organization is already deciding which flu virus strains to include in next year’s flu vaccine.