CDC announces 48% effective flu shot this season

CDC announces 48% effective flu shot this season

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - We reported a few weeks back that Midland Memorial Hospital was seeing an increase in patients testing positive for influenza and today not much has changed.

They are still having many people come in their doors with flu like symptoms.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the flu shot has been reducing the risk of infections in the United States by about half this season.

The season is still expected to continue for several more weeks.

The amount of overall protection from the flu shot this season is currently 48 percent.

That may not sound like a lot, but an Occupational Health Coordinator from Midland Memorial Hospital tells us that's actually really good.

"Rarely do we get over 50 percent ethicacy on the seasonal flu vaccine," Valerie Sparks said.

But this year it's close to hitting that 50 percent mark and Sparks said that's pretty good news.

"Historically in 2015 to 16 flu year it was 47 percent effective and then in 2014 to 15, they really missed, it was only 17 percent effective," Sparks said.

Additionally, the flu shot now covers more strains and a high dose is offered for those who are 65 or older which is a stronger vaccine for their immune systems.

Sparks said the vaccine effectiveness being at 48 percent does not relate to the flu circulating in many areas right now.

"At this point we don't know what the flu vaccination rates are you know how many of these people actually did take the vaccine compared to those who are getting sick," Sparks said.

She said even if you choose to get vaccinated and get the flu, you are still better off compared to those who do not get the shot at all.

"It is believed that if you took the flu vaccine even if you do get the flu you will have a shorter length of the disease and it'll be less severe," Sparks said.

The CDC is not done testing.

Testing will end in March so that 48 percent could change.

The flu vaccine is different every year depending on what strains are more prevalent so if you do get vaccinated every year your body will build natural immunity to it.

The best way to prevent flu exposure is washing your hands and if you are running a fever, its best to stay home.

Sparks said the vaccine is recommended for anyone that is 6 months and older.

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