Published: Fri, February 17, 2017
Health | By Bessie Ortiz

Current Flu Shot's Effectiveness Pegged at 48% — CDC

Current Flu Shot's Effectiveness Pegged at 48% — CDC

Americans who rolled up their sleeves for a flu shot this year cut their chances of coming down with the aches and fever of influenza by nearly half, a level of protection that is disappointing for a vaccine but still better than in some recent years.

It lowered the risk of having to go to the hospital or the emergency room by 48 percent, the team calculated. "Even if you catch the flu before the vaccine has a chance to take full effect, it can still lessen the severity of your illness and hopefully prevent serious complications".

The flu season runs anywhere from October to May, and this year, the CDC says it is wide spread across 43 states. She said it's also important for pregnant women to be vaccinated against the flu. "Since influenza-associated pediatric mortality became a nationally notifiable condition in 2004, the total number of influenza-associated pediatric deaths per season has ranged from 37 to 171", the CDC said. This year, the CDC only recommends people get injectable flu shots.

"We sent home any students who presented any symptoms of flu and instructed parents not to allow them to return until they were fever- and symptom-free for 24 hours", McMillan said. "It seems like it's similar to the 2012-2013 season, which was a season with millions of cases and about 60,000 hospitalizations and 2,000 deaths".

The CDC also tested all 807 influenza specimens identified this flu season and all were sensitive to each of the three approved antiviral medications.

Doctors say just this past week there have been more than 120 cases reported. Flu seasons usually peaks between December and March but can last all the way until May.

"Elevated influenza activity in parts of the expected for several more weeks". In addition, H3N2 predominated in each age group, ranging from 82.3% of influenza-positives in persons ages 0 to 4 to 93.6% of influenza-positives in adults 65 and older.

Fifteen children have died in the last month from the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control. They are caused by different viruses, but are both respiratory infections.

Overall vaccine effectiveness against influenza A and B was 48% (95% CI 37%-57%) for the 2016-2017 influenza season thus far, according to the February 17 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

County health officials are reminding residents to take precautions to minimize their risk of getting sick.

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