The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a new report which states that the flu vaccine has only a 48 percent rate of efficiency in combating the flu virus during this season of the disease.
The current flu season, which is still expected to continue for a few more weeks, has been marked by the predominance of the influenza A (H3N2) strain of the virus. Experts initially estimated that the efficiency of the flu vaccine in combating that particular strain of the virus was just 43 percent compared to the 73 percent effectiveness of the vaccine against the influenza B virus strain. However, the report found that overall protection of the vaccine was rated to be at 48 percent.
The CDC report is based on data collected between November 28 and February 4 from more than 3,100 adults and children who were part of the Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network. The CDC has routinely used data from this network to estimate the effectiveness of a vaccine during a particular season of the virus.
Previous CDC reports revealed that during the2015-2016 flu season, the flu vaccine was 47 percent effective in combating the virus, while the 2014-2015 season saw a major decline in the effectiveness of the virus, to just 19 percent.
According to the scientists, the low effectiveness rate from two years ago was caused by the predominant state of the H3N2 virus strain, for which that current vaccine was not well suited. Fortunately, researchers were able to correctly anticipate that the same strain will remain predominant during this season, which allowed to develop a vaccine which was better suited to combat the virus.
In a separate but related report, the CDC revealed that the US saw an increase in the activity of the flu virus in the middle of December, and remained high until early February. Researchers expect that that flu season will continue for a few more weeks, but it will begin to drop in activity. The increased activity of the virus led strength to the recommendation of doctors to get vaccinated.
What do you think about the report’s findings? Have you received a flu vaccine this season?
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