Officials at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) in Atlanta announced Wednesday that preliminary estimates show the flu vaccine is doing better this year, largely due to the fact that it has been a good match to the strains of the virus that currently circulating.
"This means that getting a flu vaccine this season reduced the risk of having to go to the doctor because of flu by nearly 60 percent," said Dr. Joseph Bresee, chief of the CDC's Epidemiology and Prevention Branch, according to Medical News Today. "It's good news and underscores the importance and the benefit of both annual and ongoing vaccination efforts this season."
The overall effectiveness of the vaccine is 59 percent, specifically, it is 51 percent effective against the H1N1 strain, 76 percent effective against all influenza B strains and 79 percent effective against the B/Yamagata strain of B viruses, the CDC announced at its yearly meeting aimed at assessing how effective vaccines are at protecting against flu illnesses.
This year's results, which also come amid a milder flu season, are a far cry from the 2014-2015 flu season. The vaccine was less than 20 percent effective against the then-dominant strain, reported The Morning Call. For example, by the end of Pennsylvania's 2014-15 flu season, the state Health Department had recorded more than 55,000 confirmed flu cases and 221 related deaths across the state.
The committee also amended its flu vaccine guidance for people with egg allergies, saying that research has shown they may now receive the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), the nasal spray version of the vaccine made from live virus grown in eggs.