UVA Health doctors discuss leading flu strain

Flu shot
Flu shot(Veronica Ogbe)
Published: Dec. 12, 2021 at 5:40 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Dr. Bill Petri from UVA Health says the flu season could be a difficult one.

“There’s three different kinds of influenza. This year, the kind that’s going to be predominant is the one that causes the most severe flu. So, probably it’s going to be a bad year for influenza,” Petri said.

Dr. Costi Sifri from UVA Health says the influenza A strain (H3N2) cases are rising.

“Right now leading pack is H3N2 causing about about 95% or so of all cases,” Sifri said.

Unlike COVID-19 vaccines, which are available to people 5 years and over, babies as young as six months, can get their flu shot.

“It’s really sad, on an average flu season we’ll have several hundred small children die of influenza, and that’s terrible in any case. It’s even worse if it’s a child that was not vaccinated, that you missed the opportunity to protect your child,” Petri said.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu vaccine is between 40 and 60% effective.

Flu breakthrough cases are possible, but both doctors say that should not stop you from getting the shot.

Sifri says those vaccinated against the flu, who still contract it will experience a less significant course with milder symptoms.

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