Local parents question effectiveness of flu vaccine


Ashley Menteer and her 2-year-old son Alex love spending their afternoons at the park.

In an effort to keep little Alex smiling and playing, Menteer took him to get the flu vaccine.

“Being in the military they require us to get the flu shot. I have always got the flu shot when I was younger and I see no reason for him not to get the flu shot,” Menteer said.

Loban Hammam, a mother of two, agrees.

“As a mother, I have to walk every road that makes my children safe,” she said.

But there are new concerns over whether or not the flu vaccine will work.

A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine said this year’s flu shot was about 10 percent effective in Australia’s most recent flu season.

The U.S. uses the same vaccine formula and typically the trends are similar between the two countries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports there are already been 7,000 cases of the flu so far this year in the U.S. That number more than double this time last year.

“We are seeing a variety of people coming in with the flu right now,” said Dr. Jaime Snarski, Assistant Medical Director of the Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center Emergency Department.

Snarski said it’s too early to tell if the flu vaccine works.

“We don't know for sure right now if the vaccine is going to be effective or not. So it’s super important to get vaccinated now,” she said.

For Menteer, any percentage is at least some protection against the deadly virus.

“Everything comes down to taking care of him and making sure I take the steps to keep him healthy,”she said.

According to the CDC, on average, past flu vaccines have been 40 to 60 percent effective.

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