Flu Vaccines Lose Effectiveness Against Harshest Strain ~ CDC

Flu vaccines being offered this year are only effective a quarter of the time against the strain causing the most distress, a recent report by USA Today has noted.

flu shotAccording to the report, “flu vaccines reduce the chance of getting the flu by about one-third, but are just 25% effective against the nasty strain causing the most misery.” The story quoted preliminary estimates released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to USA Today, in a typical season, vaccines prevent 40 percent to 60 percent of flu cases serious enough to send people to doctors’ offices. This year, vaccines are preventing 36 percent of those illnesses, the report stated. But they are preventing just 25 percent of illnesses caused by a type of influenza A called H3N2. That strain, which always poses a vaccine challenge, is behind three-quarters of verified flu cases so far this season, USA Today reported, quoting the CDC.

However, the article quoted flu experts as saying the vaccines remain worthwhile.

“We’ve got a good vaccine but not a great vaccine. It is modestly effective,” said Arnold Monto, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan and a co-author of the report.

The report is based on data from 4,562 patients, including some from Michigan, according to the story.