April 27, 2018

Studies show flu vaccine is less than 40% effective

16 February 2018, 06:41 | Katie Chavez

Studies show flu vaccine is less than 40% effective

Studies show flu vaccine is less than 40% effective

Officials said there has only been one time in the last decade when the flu vaccine did a worse job.

In fact, the CDC reported Thursday that the flu vaccine was providing more protection - with 59 percent effectiveness - for children aged 6 months to 8 years. That is above the number for the entire season - 65 - in 2015-16, but below season totals for all other years since the 2012-13 season when 200 people died after flu-like illnesses. The season officially ends in May. Hospitalizations are also at record levels.

Research has shown that a mutation in the H3N2 strain of the virus, which did not show up in the mass-produced vaccine that is grown using eggs, is the reason why the vaccine offered little protection last season. The decision is made months in advance, when it is hard to know what strains will be circulating.

The CDC said the best way to prevent the flu is by getting annual vaccinations, which cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination.

If you do get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. Additional effectiveness data released from the CDC Acting Director indicated that the vaccine is 67% effective against H1N1 and 42% against influenza B in adults.

This year much of the illness has been caused by one strain of influenza A called H3N2, with another strain of influenza A called H1N1 and strains of influenza B contributing to lesser extents.

Even when it doesn't work well, the flu vaccine can save many lives.

Children's vulnerability is of special concern this season. At least one person from this area has died from the flu this season. She was Georgia's first pediatric death as a result of this season's particularly devastating flu outbreak.

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"It has is a huge lifesaving effectiveness for a certain number of patients", he said.

Since these targeted treatments are not yet available, Coates stresses that flu vaccination is crucial.

Funding for this study was provided by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the American Thoracic Society/American Lung Association Partner Grant; and the Respiratory Health Association.

"I would also say we publicized fairly aggressively the flu clinics through social media and then media outlets were extremely helpful in getting the word out". "And I am anxious for the other people who may have been exposed to it".

Most did not even have flu - just 38 percent of them tested positive for flu. Researchers measure the vaccine's ability to prevent outpatient medical visits due to laboratory-confirmed influenza infections. That said, receiving the flu shot can reduce the severity of flu symptoms.

A flu warning sign and a hand sanitizer station now greet visitors in the lobby of Cooper University Hospital in Camden as the hospital deals with an unusually busy flu season.

Although some factors are beyond our control, such as the ability of flu virus to change rapidly as it circulates, there are steps that we can take to ensure that the seasonal influenza vaccine protects as many individuals as possible.

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