Vaccine no match against flu bug that popped up near end
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: July 15th, 2019
The flu vaccine turned out to be a big disappointment again. The vaccine didnt work against a flu bug that popped up halfway through the past flu season, dragging down overall effectiveness to 29%, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. The flu shot was working well early in the season with effectiveness put at 47% in February. But it was virtually worthless during a second wave driven by a tougher strain, at just 9%. There was no significant protection against that strain, said the CDCs Brendan Flannery. Flu vaccines are made each year to protect against three or four different kinds of flu virus. The ingredients are based on predictions of what strains will make people sick the following winter. This seasons shot turned out to be a mismatch against the bug that showed up late. That pushed down the overall effectiveness to one of the lowest in recent years. Since 2011, the only season with a lower estimate was the winter of 2014-2015, when effectiveness was 19%. A mismatch was also blamed then. Vaccines against some other infectious diseases are not considered successful unless they are at least 90% effective. But flu is particularly challenging, partly because the virus can so quickly change. Overall, flu vaccine has averaged around 40%. Flu shots are recommended for virtually all Americans age 6 months or older.
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