'As Americans prepare for another flu season, the question of whether to get this year’s flu shot hangs in the air for many and the dismal success rate of last year’s vaccine could serve as a major deciding factor.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report earlier this year, which revealed that when looking at the flu vaccine given to patients between November 2017 and February 2018, the vaccine was only effective about 36 percent of the time.
Each strain of influenza responded differently to the vaccine, and the CDC report noted that one of the most predominant viruses, H3N2, had an even lower vaccine effectiveness rate. When combating H3N2, last year’s virus was only effective 25 percent of the time.
This was actually higher in the United States than it was in Canada and Australia where the vaccine’s effectiveness in combating H3N2 was only around 10 percent. The vaccine did lead to higher success rates with less dangerous strands such as H1N1 where it was 67 percent effective and Influenza B where it was 42 percent effective.
While the low rates of vaccine effectiveness have led to criticism of the CDC, Time noted that the agency has attempted to defend the drug by insisting that it is still higher than past years where the rate of effectiveness was as low as 20 percent:
36 percent effectiveness may not seem very impressive, but the CDC emphasizes in the report that even small increases in immunity can have a large impact on public health. CDC data has shown that even in 2014-2015, a year when vaccine effectiveness didn’t even hit 20%, immunizations prevented as many as 144,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 4,000 deaths. Plus, people who get the shot, but who still end up getting sick, tend to have less severe illnesses than unvaccinated people.
The all-around low rate of vaccine effectiveness is also notable because a recent report from the CDC admitted that more than 80,000 people died from the flu last year, and at least 180 of them were children.'
Read more: CDC Urging Americans To Get Flu Shot—After Admitting The Last Vaccine Was Only 36% Effective
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