Flu vaccine effectiveness reduced this season

Flu vaccine effectiveness reduced this season

Flu vaccine effectiveness reduced this season

A report published in the January Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) estimates that getting the flu shot this season reduced the risk of flu by 23%.

Flu vaccine effectiveness reduced because of virus mismatches

United States officials report that the most common influenza virus circulating now is the H3N2, which the flu vaccine is not very effective against. According to the CDC, “Flu viruses change constantly and the drifted H3N2 viruses did not appear until after the vaccine composition for the Northern Hemisphere had been chosen.”

About 98 per cent of the viruses are mismatched that have been characterized in Canada, whereas in the U.S. its closer to about 68 per cent, or about two-thirds are mismatched. So it’s not a good omen,” said Dr. Danuta Skowronski of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control.

There are other ways to protect yourselves from the flu besides the flu shot, like washing your hands and staying home when you are under the weather, said Dr. Michael Gardam, director of infection prevention and control at Toronto’s University Health Network.

This year you could go off and get your flu shot and who cares? It really is not providing a great deal of protection,” Gardam said.

The CDC began conducting flu vaccine effectiveness studies in 2004-05. Estimates for effectiveness have ranged from 10-60 percent in reduction of risk.

Besides mismatched viruses, age and health of people who are vaccinated are also important factors to flu vaccine effectiveness.

What does the CDC recommend?

The CDC still recommends getting the flu shot during flu seasons, as the vaccine can still reduce risk of severe disease. The flu vaccine still protects against 3-4 different flu types, which may circulate later in the season.

For the CDC report showing reduction in flu vaccine effectiveness.

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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1. “Flu Vaccine Only 23% Effective in U.S., Even Less Effective in Canada.” CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 15 Jan. 2015. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.
2. “Protection from Flu Vaccination Reduced This Season.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 Jan. 2015. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.
3. “Influenza A (H3N2) Variant Virus.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 04 Sept. 2014. Web. 20 Jan. 2015.

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