What you need to know about the 2016 flu vaccine

What you need to know about the 2016 flu vaccine

In Australia, about twice the number of people die from influenza each year than are diagnosed with CLL/SLL.   I expect the statistics would be the same for other Western countries.  For the first time this year, the publicly funded vaccine program in Australia will offer the quadrivalent flu vaccine (QIV), which protects against four instead of three strains of flu.

This article by C Raina MacIntyre, Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology, Head of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine and Aye Moa, PhD candidate, UNSW Australia explains the following:

* What is influenza and how it kills people - Note: it's usually by viral or secondary pneumonia or secondary bacterial complications

* Why the vaccine varies each year

* What strains are protected by the 2016 vaccine

* Who should be vaccinated - and yes it includes those with CLL under the category of those with immunosuppression

* How effective last year's vaccine was in preventing infections (about 60% in the USA)


The comments make interesting reading too, in particular the quote from the Medical Journal of Australia's paper, describing the challenges to the hospital Critical Care system from the 2009 'swine flu' outbreak by Sue Ieraci:

“Severe respiratory failure was evident in 82% of ICU admissions, and was caused by moderate to severe pneumonitis, pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Mechanical ventilation was required in 72% of ICU admissions, for a mean duration of 9 days (SD, 6.2 days)."

Makes the slight discomfort for a day or so from a jab pale into insignificance.

Note that you should not have the flu vaccine if you are severely neutropenic (ANC <0.5).  I was asked to have a blood test in a month's time to see if I would qualify then.


2 Replies

  • Neil

    I understand here in the UK the last vaccine was not very effective the deaths increased over the winter and those that know believe it is down to the failure in some instances of the vaccine.

    Not sure if it was the same one you quote?


  • The Southern hemisphere often has different vaccine strains than the north...  so you can't compare...



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