The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had December warned that this year’s flu vaccine wouldn’t work so well because it was not engineered to eliminate the mutated strain that’s been spreading widely – and true to their predictions, the vaccines are only performing at a 23% effectiveness rate – but the CDC had still gone ahead to warn that getting a shot is better than nothing.
This year’s flu vaccine’s 23% effectiveness is one of the worst performances in the last decade – according to a government research paper released Thursday – and according to Dr. Alicia Fry, a flu vaccine expert at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “This is an uncommon year.”
Even though this year’s flu vaccine fails to arrest the H3N2 virus strain – these vaccines at best had performed at 50% to 60% effectiveness in the last decade. Flu vaccines are usually reformulated based on what scientists believe to be the three or four strains that should give problems; and with the decision taken in February, pharmaceutical companies have enough time to formulate the shots and produce enough doses to cover the country – these might include injectable shots and nasal spray vaccines.
This year’s H3N2 virus strain has caused two-thirds of illnesses this winter, and it has also caused more hospitalizations and deaths. The elderly are more prone to the strain this winter, because even at best, flu shots traditionally work lesser in the elderly. And according to health officials, people of 65 years and above have been hospitalized more in this year’s case, and this actually gets worse than obtained in the 2012-2013 season.
Involved in this study were 2,231 people from Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin, and Washington – people who had respiratory illnesses from November to early January. And according to researchers, people who get vaccinated have a 23% chance of not winding up in hospital beds.