If you got the flu shot, you may have saved yourself from a few miserable days home in bed.
As the influenza season winds down, Manitoba Health says it appears the vaccine worked well – much better than last year, when it basically didn’t work at all.
The H1N1 strain dominated the season, which peaked the first couple weeks of March.
It tends to affect a younger population, leading to more hospitalizations of those under 65. As of April 9, the province reported 259 people were hospitalized, and 74 admitted to intensive care. Twenty people died.
Medical Officer of Health Tim Hilderman says the vaccine worked fairly well against that most dominant strain.
“Substantially better than last year, at least in terms of the interim estimates, putting the vaccine efficacy somewhere between 60 and 70 per cent as opposed to last year when it was really ineffective,” he said.
Hilderman says early reports show it may have worked even better against other strains, pegging the efficacy overall at about 70 per cent or higher.
Health officials were concerned that the poor performance of last year’s flu shot would keep people from getting one this year.
But Hilderman says early estimates show the vaccination rate is very similar – about 22 per cent.
The rate among high-risk populations was much higher.