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CDC Says Flu Vaccine Is 48% Effective against H3N2 Flu Strain This Year

By Charles Omedo , Feb 17, 2017 01:00 AM EST
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The publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that this year's flu vaccine is 48% effective against the current strain of flu virus. Health officials however advise that regardless of this less-than-perfect vaccine effectiveness, everyone should endeavor to get a vaccination shot. They insist that flu vaccination goes a long way at preventing flu hospitalizations and related deaths.

The health officials reveal that the current circulating flu strain is the A type H3N2, and the vaccine is 43% against it. They also clarified that the vaccine is 73% effective against all flu B viruses and must be taken by all persons during this flu season. And then they added that despite its lower effectiveness, that the vaccine is able to prevent 60,000 hospitalizations and about 2,000 deaths.

Flu infections rising in some states but lower in others

Health experts reveal that the current flu infection is rising in some Midwestern states but declining in some Northwestern states. A CDC epidemiologist, Brendan Flannery, notes that this season's flu epidemic can be regarded as moderately severe but is yet to fully peak. He also explained that CDC considers this current flu vaccine as less effective because the target H3N2 virus strain is still able to mutate, Philly reports.

People urged to get vaccinated despite the vaccine's less effectiveness

Health professionals urge people to still get vaccinated this flu season despite the vaccine's less effectiveness against H3N2 virus. Flannery said people who are at high risk of getting infected or residing in areas with a high incidence of flu infection must get a vaccine shot. Then he cautioned that "Antivirals shouldn't be withheld pending influenza testing or based on whether you were vaccinated or not."

A co-author of the report and another CDC epidemiologist, Lynnette Brammer, cautioned that "The season hasn't peaked yet, and we don't know when the peak is going to happen." She said that in the event that people get sick from getting a flu vaccine shot, there are antiviral drugs that can prevent severe complications and restore the health of the patient, WTKR 3 reports. It must however be noted that even through the end of March, the flu vaccine shot will still be effective in reducing the severity of any flu infections.

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