The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. Interim findings show effectiveness for this year's flu vaccine was 36%, which was on the lower end of the typical range of flu vaccine effectiveness of 40-60%.
In a February 2 update, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported flu hospitalizations and deaths in children and the elderly continue to rise.
She says there was already a peak and a decrease for the season, but there appears to be another increase happening.
"While the flu vaccine's effectiveness against the circulating viruses is being predicted to be somewhere between 10 and 30 percent, there is evidence that the vaccine helps to decrease the severity of the flu and to protect against the most serious complications such as pneumonia".
There are now two vaccines that are recommended for some high-risk groups as protection against all kinds of pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia.
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"Even with current vaccine effectiveness estimates, vaccination will still prevent influenza illness, including thousands of hospitalizations and deaths".
And that has many people asking, "Why is it so deadly?"
The shots will be given at the Blountville and Kingsport health departments from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., while supplies last. Dr. Schuchat says watch for a persistent high fever, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, a rapid heartbeat, significant tiredness and confusion.
The new report shows that for the week ending January 27, just under 10 percent of USA death certificates listed flu or pneumonia. The best thing to do is to take precautions, like washing hands, getting vaccinated, and checking up on friends and family who are at risk. And 53 percent of those who did not have flu had been vaccinated. Right now, because of spot shortages, the CDC is recommending antivirals only for people with severe flu, or those with underlying health conditions. That data will come later. The CDC estimated the shot was about 67 percent effective against the H1N1 strain of flu.
While it's not too late to get a flu shot, she said it looked like outbreaks in the region had likely hit their high point for this flu season.
During the same period, public health laboratories tested 51,014 specimens for influenza virus, of which 84.1% (n=23,257) tested positive for influenza A and 15.9% (n=4,412) tested positive for influenza B viruses.