Canadian Health Officials Admit that Only Those Vaccinated for the Flu are Getting the Flu This Year
Health officials in B.C. have not detected a single case of influenza circulating in the community since flu season began, continuing an “exceptional” nationwide trend even as the province sits in the thick of its regular flu season.
The B.C. Centre of Disease Control (BCCDC) confirmed the non-existent seasonal flu numbers to CBC News on Monday.
“It’s still a big goose egg in terms of influenza detection provincially. It’s really quite exceptional how low the influenza activity is,” said Dr. Danuta Skowronski, the lead for influenza and emerging respiratory virus monitoring at the BCCDC.
“I’ve been on the influenza beat for 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like this … and that’s not for lack of trying.”
The BCCDC has tested 30,000 samples for influenza this year. Only a dozen of those tests came back positive and all were linked to people who’d received a vaccine, which doesn’t count as community spread.
By comparison, the centre found 861 positive tests last year with roughly one-third of the testing.
B.C.’s experience is reflected across the country. A report from the Public Health Agency of Canada on Thursday said there hasn’t been enough influenza cases to even declare that the 2020-21 flu season has begun in Canada.
The 30,000 tests run for the flu this year is four times the average number of tests B.C. has done over the past five flu seasons. The dozen positive results were all connected to people who’d received the “live attenuated” flu vaccine, which is made from weakened influenza virus and delivered by nasal spray.
“It’s not unusual to pick up the vaccine virus in the nose swab,” Skowronski said. “What is unexpected is to find no influenza viruses otherwise at all in the province.”