3.9k Share this

This season’s flu vaccine offers meager protection against mild cases of influenza, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

Against the most common flu strain circulating this season, the flu shot reduced a person’s chance of getting a mild case by 16 percent, which is “considered not statistically significant,” the CDC authors wrote, though the shots should offer some protection against more severe illness.

Full coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic

Put more bluntly, the flu vaccine was “essentially ineffective,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases expert at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Indeed, research from earlier in the flu season found that the vaccine was a poor match for the H3N2 strain of the virus. That study, from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, was posted as a pre-print, meaning it had not been peer-reviewed.

Thursday’s CDC report confirmed that the dominant strain detected this season was H3N2 — a strain that flu experts say is particularly troublesome, as it tends to mutate faster than other variants of influenza and traditionally leads to more hospitalizations and deaths.

The findings come amid the nation’s second flu season in a row with low flu activity overall. Flu cases did start to rise in the fall, sparking fears of a “twindemic” of Covid-19 and the flu, but cases never took off like they do in typical flu seasons.

Some flu experts had been particularly concerned that the nation could have a bad flu season this year after flu cases reached an all-time low last year, when most parts of the country were shut down because of the pandemic.

Schaffner said that it’s possible the omicron surge in December and January had an impact on keeping flu cases at bay, by causing people to wear masks again, practice social distancing and other mitigation measures. Those measures likely kept flu levels low in the 2020-2021 season as well.

Still, Schaffner said, the CDC’s new report underscores the need for a better flu vaccine, because “the flu is not going away. … It will be back again next year and the year after that and the year after that.”

Flu vaccines generally reduce the risk of illness from influenza viruses by between 40 percent and 60 percent, according to the CDC. Vaccine makers, including Pfizer and Moderna, are developing potential flu shots that use mRNA technology, the same platform used to create the Covid-19 vaccine, though those vaccines, if found to be effective, will likely not be available until late 2023.

The CDC recommends everyone over the age of 6 months get the flu vaccine because the shots can prevent more serious outcomes from influenza, such as severe disease, hospitalization and death.

Thursday’s report noted that compared to the 2020-21 flu season, vaccination coverage this year was lower in certain groups, including pregnant women, infants and preschool-age children.

Follow NBC HEALTH on Twitter & Facebook.

Source: This post first appeared on NBC News

3.9k Share this
You May Also Like

Amazon shoppers love these wireless bras calling them ‘a lifesaver in warm weather’

Amazon shoppers are calling these wireless bralettes ‘a lifesaver in warm weather’…
Chicago's Brookfield Zoo welcomes baby South American tapir calf

Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo welcomes baby South American tapir calf

BROOKFIELD, Ill. (WLS) — The Brookfield Zoo welcomed a South American tapir…
JOHNNY DEPP VS. AMBER HEARD TRIAL LIVE: Day 21 updates

JOHNNY DEPP VS. AMBER HEARD TRIAL LIVE: Day 21 updates

LIVE JOHNNY DEPP VS. AMBER HEARD TRIAL LIVE: Pirates of Caribbean star…

Mother-of-three posts photos of her flat stomach at eight-months pregnant

Mother-of-three reveals it IS possible to hide a pregnancy as she shows…

Critical incident declared after IT failure hits FOUR hospitals in Greater Manchester

Critical incident declared after IT failure hits FOUR hospitals in Greater Manchester…

TikToker tries on grandmother’s honeymoon outfits which have been packed in a suitcase since 1952

A 27-year-old woman who discovered a suitcase filled with outfits her grandmother…
Fab four: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, left, U.S. President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are greeted by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, during his arrival to the Quad leaders summit at Kantei Palace, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Tokyo. It was the second in-person meeting of the group, at the start of Biden's last day in Asia

Biden starts his last day in Asia by as he meets the Quad after rankling China with Taiwan comments 

President Biden began the last day of his trip to Asia Tuesday with…
City hosts youth summit at Malcolm X College to address Chicago violence, source solutions from community

City hosts youth summit at Malcolm X College to address Chicago violence, source solutions from community

CHICAGO (WLS) — The city of Chicago and Mayor Lightfoot hosted a…