Report: Current flu vaccine cuts contraction risk by 23 percent

A recent story in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said the flu vaccine this season has lowered a person’s risk of contracting the flu by 23 percent among individuals of all ages.

“Physicians should be aware that all hospitalized patients and all outpatients at high risk for serious complications should be treated as soon as possible with one of three available influenza antiviral medications if influenza is suspected, regardless of a patient’s vaccination status and without waiting for confirmatory testing,” CDC Influenza Division Branch Chief Joe Bresee said. “Health care providers should advise patients at high risk to call promptly if they get symptoms of influenza.”

A prominent factor that determines a flu vaccine's potency is the similarity between the flu viruses used in vaccine production and the flu viruses that are actually in circulation. Flu viruses mutate often. One other factor that influences how well the flu vaccine works is the age and health of the vaccinated individual. Generally, the flu vaccine has the best results in young, healthy individuals and is less effective in those 65 and older.

The CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine even during seasons when mutated viruses, or "drifting" viruses, are circulating more actively than usual as vaccination can still prevent some of the infections that can lead to hospitalization and, potentially, death.

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U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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