CDC: Flu shot kept about 50% from going to doctor
This year’s flu shot has prevented about half the people vaccinated from getting sick enough to need to go to the doctor, according to new federal data.
Overall, this season’s flu is significantly less harsh than last year’s, largely because of the effectiveness of this year’s vaccine, according to interim estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fewer deaths have been attributed to influenza and pneumonia this year, and fewer people have sought outpatient care, the CDC said.
The interim estimate covers Sept. 30 through February 2.
The CDC data show the vaccine is 46 percent effective against H1N1, the most common type of flu this year, and 47 percent effective against all influenza-related illnesses.
As of Feb. 2, 28 children have died from the flu, compared to 68 at the same point last year.
Currently, the CDC estimates 9,600 to 15,900 deaths between Oct.1 and Feb. 2. Last year, 80,000 people died in what was described as a “high severity” season. In other years, flu-related deaths have ranged from about 12,000 to 56,000.
The CDC recommended that health care providers continue to administer the flu shot “because influenza activity is ongoing … vaccination remains the best method for preventing influenza and its potentially serious complications, including those that can result in hospitalization and death.”