Health Commissioner Warns Vermont's 'Widespread' Flu Season Yet To Peak

Jan 19, 2018

Vermont and nearly every other state in the U.S. is experiencing "widespread" flu outbreaks this winter, and the state health commissioner says the peak of flu season is still to come.

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine, citing information from the CDC, said every state in the country except Hawaii has what's considered “widespread” flu outbreaks.

Vermont’s flu season started early this winter, Dr. Levine said, and has yet to peak. With flu seasons tending to last between eight to twelve weeks, he tells Vermont Edition​ the state is “in for the long run.”

Dr. Levine also said the flu strain most prevalent this year, H3N2, also underwent genetic changes that made the vaccine “less responsive to H3N2 than had been hoped for.” 

While final numbers for how effective the flu strain is, Dr. Levine estimates the vaccine to be about 30 percent effective against this strain of flu. Nonetheless, he emphasized the flu vaccine also offers protection against other strains of flu, particularly H1N1 and influenza B, which he said are seen less frequently but nonetheless able to make people sick.

Broadcast Friday, Jan. 19, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.