Dec. 6, 2022 – This year’s version of the influenza vaccine appears to be effective against the widely circulating strains of the virus, the CDC said on Monday.

"We look in real time as to how well we think the influenza match is to what's circulating. And right now, the good news is that it looks like it is a very good match," CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said during a news conference, according to CBS News.

The flu got off to a fierce and early start this season and continues down a record-setting path not seen since 2010. So far, the virus has infected 8.7 million people in the U.S., hospitalized 78,000, and caused 4,500 deaths, CDC data shows.

The flu vaccine is designed a year in advance using previous season data, according to Scientific American. Typically, the flu vaccine is 40% to 60% effective, the CDC says, although some years, its effectiveness has been as low as 10%.

An effective flu vaccine is good at reducing hospitalizations from the flu, Walensky noted.

Even when the vaccine is a poor match to circulating strains, “we see a 35% decrease in rates of hospitalization … which really just emphasizes, when we do have a good match, how much more effective it will be,” she said, CNN reported.

Tracking and survey data shows that between 26% and 40% of U.S. adults have received the flu vaccine this year, which is up slightly over last year. Four in 10 children have gotten a flu vaccine, which is the same rate as this time a year ago. 

The CDC also reported that the leading circulating flu strains are all responding to widely available antiviral treatments.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

CBS News: “Flu shots are a 'very good match' to this season's strains, CDC says.”

CDC: “Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report, Updated December 2, 2022,” “Vaccine Effectiveness: How Well Do Flu Vaccines Work?” “Past Seasons’ Vaccine Effectiveness Estimates,” “Weekly Flu Vaccination Dashboard.”

Scientific American: “How Are Seasonal Flu Vaccines Made?”

CNN: “Flu vaccine appears to be a very good match to circulating strains, CDC says.”

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