Influenza is associated with thousands of hospitalizations and deaths annually in Canada. The cornerstone of influenza control is the annual trivalent influenza vaccine administered prior to the start of the flu season. The annual vaccine does not provide perfect protection for all recipients and it is difficult to measure the vaccine’s efficacy at the start of the flu season, while the epidemic is growing. A mathematical model will be used to generate a typical influenza season using publically available data from FluWatch, a Canadian influenza surveillance system. Historically, once a seasonal influenza A epidemic starts to build, the number of influenza cases nearly doubles every week. A conclusion may be of the form “For a vaccine efficacy of x and a vaccination coverage of y, we can slow the epidemic growth rate, and the number of cases would be expected to double in z weeks.” The conclusion is hypothetical, as vaccine efficacy or coverage may still be too low to see an effect.
Dr. Jonathan Dushoff
Michael Jordan Delorme
Public Health Agency of Canada
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