Flu vaccine only 23% effective this season
- With influenza levels at epidemic levels this season, the CDC has concluded that this year's inoculation is mismatched to the viral strains that are infecting Americans.
- When the inoculation in the vaccine is well matched with the viruses that are circulating, the level of effectiveness ranges from 50% to 60%.
- For the week ending January 3, 7% of all deaths reported through the CDC monitoring system were attributed to influenza or pneumonia, according to Bloomberg.
Already, the rate of influenza this season has crossed the epidemic threshold, which is 6.9%. While it is clear that the flu vaccine does not in any way confer 100% protection, this year's level of effectiveness has some questioning whether or not it makes sense to get a flu vaccination and the efficacy of antiviral medications in general.
In response to the epidemic influenza levels, a U.S. House Subcommittee will be holding a hearing on February 3 to address public health officials' response to this season's epidemic, while also looking at the relationship between flu season preparation and overall pandemic response capabilities.