Better than nothing.
That’s the official word from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to an updated release about the effectiveness of the flu shot.
Preliminary data from five sites around the country suggest that those who have been vaccinated reduced their risk of getting a ‘serious’ case of the flu by 36 percent.
If that number seems worrisome, consider this one:
Australia’s flu shot, which is said to be the one ours is based on annually — is seeing an effectiveness of around 10 percent at reducing risk of flu. Meanwhile, preliminary estimates in Canada show that the reduction was around 17 percent.
The CDC says the vaccine did a better job of protecting people against H1N1 flu strains — reducing that risk by around 67 percent.
The flu shot appears to be most-effective for the very-young. Children between six months, and eight years old saw the highest effectiveness estimation. Meanwhile, adults between 18 and 49 saw an effectiveness of roughly half the younger age group.
The CDC also says that if you think it’s too late to get the flu shot — that it isn’t. The report’s authors point out, “Several more weeks of influenza activity are likely. Vaccination will still prevent influenza illness, including thousands of hospitalizations and deaths.”
During the 2014-15 flu season — the CDC says the shot was also very ineffective. Less than 20 percent effective, in fact. However, they estimate that the vaccine prevented between 11,000 and 144,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 300 to 4,000 flu-related deaths.
Bottom line: Go get a flu shot if you want, but hand washing remains one of the simplest ways to prevent a host of wintertime illnesses, according to doctors.