Flu shot only 23% effective, still recommended
SPOKANE, Wash. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that this season’s flu shot is only 23 percent effective. Despite the low percentage, doctors still urge you to get vaccinated.
Kelly Dvorak and her daughter Piper didn’t get a flu shot this year and so far, so good.
“Not the flu, thank goodness,” Dvorak said. “Not in our house, yet.”
Others haven’t been so lucky.
“Couple of kids in her class have had the flu,” she said.
The latest update from the Washington State Department of Health shows there’s been 22 laboratory-confirmed deaths in the state from the flu. This year is shaping up to a better year than the 2014-2015 flu season, which saw a whopping 79 deaths due to the virus. However, just like last year, this year is hitting the elderly particularly hard.
“This is a bad strain of flu this year,” Dr. Richard Besser, ABC’s Chief Medical Editor said. “It’s infecting the elderly very, very much, but today we have learned that vaccine is not very effective.”
The lack of punch in this year’s flu shot is being blamed on multiple strains of the H3N2 virus. The current vaccine effectiveness for children up to 17 years old is 26 percent. For older adults, it’s even less effective only 12 percent for those between 18 and 49. People over 50 are seeing 14 percent effectiveness. Still, health officials are urging those who haven’t already received a flu shot to get one, because some protection is better than none.
“Many seasons after the first wave of flu, we’ll see a separate strain come through and the vaccine will work for that,” Bresser said.
A message heard loud and clear by those who don’t take chances.
“I’ve had pneumonia, hospitalized three different times in the past years. It’s scary so I’m really paranoid about getting the flu,” Jim Kuhn said.