WACO, Texas – The flu is very common around the world, and many people try to prevent it by getting a flu shot. But exactly how effective is the vaccine?
This year’s flu shot was only 30 percent effective, according to the CDC. Doctors say the shot is still worth it.
“The flu also kills people. We have over 30,000 Americans who die of the flu every season,” says Manjusha Gaglani, Infectious Disease Doctor at Baylor Scott and White.
Millions of Americans get the flu every year. You’ve heard about washing your hands, covering your nose and mouth, and eating right – all ways to protect yourself from catching the flu. But are they the best methods?
“The flu virus is very adept at mutating. It does so really quickly. So it’s important to reformulate the vaccine every year and to get the vaccine every fall to keep up with the ever changing virus,” says Jill Ferdinands, CDC Epidemiologist.
Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control have been studying flu vaccine effectiveness since the early 2000’s. The goal is to determine how well the flu vaccine works each season. So how well did it work this year?
“The vaccine was about 30% effective in preventing other outpatient visits from influenza or hospitalization with influenza,” Ferdinands says.
“The surprise this season was that we saw two types of influenza circulate. Sometimes the season is dominated by a single virus. We saw better protection from the H1N1 virus that has been circulating for a few years and we saw poor protection against a new H3N2 virus. The virus emerged during the season, and the vaccine wasn’t very effective against it,” says Brendan Flannery, CDC Epidemiologist.
Despite these results, experts advise you still get the flu shot. October is the recommended month to get it.