"It is still your best defense".
"For the 2017-2018 season, manufacturers projected they would provide between 151 million and 166 million doses of injectable vaccine for the USA market".
Flu viruses can cause mild to severe illness, and can lead to death.
The numbers are a snapshot taken in the middle of a frantic flu season. The vaccine's effectiveness may have changed as it is measured at the end of the season. The vaccine was only 25 percent effective against that type. "The vaccine's performance in children was better than we expected", she said.
Flu experts were quick to say the vaccines remain worthwhile. And it was 42 percent effective against Type B flu viruses.
"The vaccines that we have today are not the ones that we'd like to have in 10 years", she said. More potent yearly vaccines could make it through the pipeline sooner, he said.
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Connolly said she ended up administering about 30 doses of flu vaccine, mostly to children from elementary grades to high school age. This knowledge should help improve next year's vaccine effectiveness, he said. This year, vaccines are preventing 36% of those illnesses, the report said. This is believed to work a little bit better in that age group.
This study does not include data on how well the vaccine prevented deaths of serious flu requiring hospitalization, the CDC pointed out. The percentage spiked over the last three weeks, and is now higher than at this time in any of the last three flu seasons. In addition, those aged about 50 to 69 are becoming infected and dying at higher rates than usual.
So far this flu season, Fauquier Hospital reported a total of 92 tests positive for both strains of the flu, said Daniel Ferrell, epidemiologist for the Virginia Department of Health in the Rappahannock Rapidan Health District.
"In severe seasons in the past over 700,000 people have been hospitalized and 56,000 people died from influenza".
Influenza A, or H3N2, is the prevailing strain of influenza in the 2018 season.
Pneumonia and flu-related deaths rose sharply in the first weeks of 2018, accounting for 10 percent of all deaths during the week ending January 20.
The levels of flu-like illness are around what the US saw in 2009, another bad year, said acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat.
"The strains that are circulating are the strains we predicted".