Colds and flu

03 December 2008

How effective is the vaccine?

In the event of exposure, the vaccine prevents 'flu in up to 90% of young adults, but in only 30-40% of the elderly.

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In the event of exposure, the vaccine prevents 'flu in up to 90% of young adults, but in only 30-40% of the elderly.

However, it does reduce severe disease in the elderly, thus decreasing hospitalisation, and reduces the risk of death by 80%.

The flu vaccine is effective for eight to 12 months. This is one reason why it has to be repeated every year. (The other is because of the changing 'flu strains.)

Reviewed (2006) by Dr Jane Yeats MBChB, BSc(Med)(Hons)Biochem, FCPathSA(Virology).

 

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Flu expert

Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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