Friday, 4 October 2013

How effective is the influenza vaccine?

Allen Cheng 125Ever wonder if that flu shot you get each year works?

The Influenza Complications Alert Network (FluCAN) has found that influenza vaccine reduced the risk of being hospitalized with influenza by 48% in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. This work refined the methods used in an earlier study based on 2010 data that found a similar result and is broadly similar to the results of studies performed in general practices.

FluCAN, led by Associate Professor Allen Cheng from the Monash Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine and The Alfred hospital, is a national network of hospitals that collects data on patients hospitalized with confirmed influenza. It is currently funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing. Since 2009, it has provided real-time information to public health units around Australia on the ‘flu “load” in hospitals each season. It complements similar surveillance systems based at general practices with results published in the Australian Influenza Report. We have also found that a small but significant number of patients catch the flu while in hospital resulting in potentially severe disease, and have estimated that around 1800-3200 patients were admitted with flu to Australian hospitals in the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

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