How effective is the flu shot this season?

Although the numbers sound bleak, experts say this is in fact progress.

Flu season in OH generally lasts from October to May, and peaks around this time of year. "But, the lack of high levels of protection conferred by vaccination underscores the need for new vaccines that provide substantially higher protection as the flu burden remains sizable, even with high levels of vaccination", Adalja said.

'It's good news and underscores the importance and the benefit of both annual and ongoing vaccination efforts this season'.

To put that in context, the influenza B component of the vaccine this year appears to offer about 73 percent protection. The interim vaccine effectiveness estimates indicate that influenza vaccination lowered the risk for outpatient medical visits by almost 50%. Young children, older people, and those with health conditions are most at risk. In total, 157 deaths were recorded - 141 of them children.

In a separate report, the CDC noted that flu activity in the United States began to increase in mid-December, remained elevated through early February, and is expected to continue for several more weeks.

'And I think that strengthens the message for people to still get vaccinated'.

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Scientists change the flu vaccine on a yearly basis.

The effectiveness of the vaccine is less than hoped because the H3N2 virus is able to mutate, Flannery explained.

The proportion of respiratory specimens that tested positive for flu in Europe dropped slightly last week, to 42% from 45%, and officials reported another decrease in the number of new hospitalizations for flu.

Fry characterized the current flu season as moderate. Tennessee typically sees four to five deaths among children from flu-related complications each year.

Fishman and Lorber agreed that there have been a lot of sick people this year, but, generally, the symptoms have been milder. Additionally, the vaccine protects people for just a few months after it's given. "So there are individual factors as well as the circulating viruses that influence vaccine effectiveness". "Contact your health care provider right away if you are at high risk of serious flu complications and you get flu symptoms". "You won't have to be admitted to the hospital, you won't have to go to the ICU, and you won't die".

Flu season is here with seasonal flu activity reported across Tennessee. 11 more deaths are in the process of verification as influenza-caused.

  • Ismael Montgomery