CDC: Flu vaccine 36 percent effective this season

17 February, 2018, 00:41 | Author: Darrell Lopez
  • Haverhill school officials reminded parents that free flu vaccines are available for children

The effectiveness of flu vaccine varies from year to year and is determined, in part, by whether the vaccine is a good match for the flu viruses that circulate in the community.

Overall, this year's vaccine is 36 percent effective, meaning it reduces the number of doctor visits by 36 percent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

When epidemiologists start to create flu vaccines for the following season - usually around this time of year - they must account for several different strains of the flu. With 63 pediatric flu deaths and still many weeks left in this flu season, the CDC continues to recommend flu vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older who is healthy enough to receive a flu shot. In addition to H3N2, influenza B-type viruses are also on the rise - though they are not as severe as H3N2.

The vaccine's performance in children was "better than we expected", Schuchat said after the release of the CDC's midseason report of estimated vaccine effectiveness rates.

But most of the children who have died this year have not been vaccinated, the report said.

"The influenza vaccine is meant to provide protection against multiple strains of influenza".

He added that older people generally have less effective immune systems and that many Americans over 65 are facing an extra challenge when it comes to H3N2. Thomas shared this flu season has stayed level so far and she has yet to see an increase in flu cases.

This year, middle-aged people are being stricken at almost twice the rate seen in 2014-2015, although health officials aren't sure why.

Similar to the situation for last week's data, influenza activity remains widespread in 48 states. In two states - OR and Hawaii - flu is occurring at a more limited regional level, rather than statewide. The two related conditions accounted for 9.8 percent of all US deaths in the week ended January 27, down from more than 10 percent.

Meanwhile, during the sixth week of the year, 7.5% of people who visited their doctors complained of flu-like illness.

"The 10 percent vaccine effectiveness (VE) figure reported in the news is an Australian interim estimate of the vaccine's benefit against one flu virus (the H3N2 virus) that circulated in Australia during its most recent flu season", the website states.

Given how contagious the flu has proven to be, a vaccination that prevents even one person from contracting the flu would prevent multitudes of others contracting it from them.



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