EDINA, Minn. (WCCO) — Pulling up to emergency room doors has been a consistent site for sick Minnesotans this year, even for medical professionals.
“We were as prepared for flu season as we possibly could be,” Dr. Shane McAllister said as he explained how he, his wife and their 9-month-old son all received the flu vaccine this season. McAllister is an infectious disease specialist.
Despite taking that precaution, he said his son came down with the virus.
“I got a call from daycare that he had a 102 (degree) fever. And when we picked him up he was glassy eyed and listless, definitely not himself,” said Dr. McAllister.
He immediately checked his son into the ER at Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. After getting diagnosed with the flu, Dr. McAllister said his son was treated with Tamiflu and was healthy within a few days.
“We will continue to give him the flu vaccine every year but I do hope that we have better one to offer very soon,” he said.
The current vaccine is reportedly only 10 to 60 percent effective.
Senator Amy Klobuchar wants to change that through a bill named the Flu Vaccine Act, which would call for more research on a better vaccine at the National Institute of Health. She made the announcement at Fairview Hospital in Edina, surrounded by several health professionals who hope to aid her in the bill’s goal.
“Funding research to improve flu vaccinations is critical in keeping our society healthy. We need to get to a point where the viruses have to work to keep up with us,” said Dr. Kevin Nelson, a family medicine doctor with Fairview Physician Associates.
One child in Minnesota has died from the flu. The Centers for Disease Control recently reported one in 10 deaths in the country have been linked to flu or pneumonia.
“There have also been 400 outbreaks of flu in Minnesota’s schools and over 130 outbreaks in long-term care facilities,” said Dave Johnson, epidemiology manager for Hennepin County Public Health.
Senator Klobuchar and other lawmakers will introduce the Flu Vaccine Act this week. She said she continues to push the Food and Drug Administration to fix the IV bag and saline shortage in the U.S., which has adversely affected flu symptom treatment.