Flu vaccine is only moderately protective this year, CDC says

Image credit Monet
Image credit Monet
Author

20 February, 2017

According to U.S. health officials, the vaccine has been a great help in preventing the illness.

State health officials are urging residents to get the vaccine as soon as possible and to take other precautions to avoid the flu.

"Forty percent to 50 percent is a lot better than zero, but what it really begs the question is: Why are we not working hard to get new and better flu vaccines?" said Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy and a long-time advocate for the development of more effective flu vaccines. Expectant mothers should be vaccinated during pregnancy to protect themselves and pass protection on to their unborn babies.

"Unfortunately, this flu season is far from over", Tengelsen said.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.

The length of flu seasons can vary year to year, Smith said, but this season is predicted to end in May.

Image credit Matt Rourke  AP file  NBC News
Image credit Matt Rourke AP file NBC News

Strains of the flu virus are constantly changing, so a new vaccine is made each year.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this year's flu vaccine has proven to be 48 percent effective in preventing the illness. "The flu shot is still the best way to make sure you and your loved ones are protected".

"The current flu vaccine is the best preventative measure we now have".

Flu season is in full swing but should calm down around the end of March, beginning of April.

Image credit: Monet / Fotolia / EmpowHer " There is still time to go out and get it. "Antivirals are especially important for those at increased risk of complications from influenza, including pregnant women and anyone hospitalized with suspected influenza complications".

DHS offered other prevention tips, including frequent hand washing, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and staying home when sick. The committee members consider which viruses are making people sick, where those viruses are spreading and how well the previous season's vaccine protects against them. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments.

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