This Year’s Flu Vaccine More Effective Than Last Year’s, CDC Says
CDC Director Tom Frieden has said that this year's influenza vaccination is between 50% and 60% effective, AP/Modern Healthcare reports.
Frieden said, "So far, the strains in this year's vaccine seem likely to match" (AP/Modern Healthcare, 9/17).
The last flu vaccine was 23% effective, the lowest efficacy rate in about a decade. The low effectiveness occurred in part because the dominant strain circulating "changed markedly" since the vaccine strains were selected in February 2014 (California Healthline, 2/3).
Vaccine producers expect that more than 170 million doses of this year's flu vaccine will be available.
Providers Encourage Vaccination
According to CDC, children ages six to 23 months were most likely to receive a flu vaccine last year, with a 75% vaccination rate. Children ages two to four and adults ages 65 and older both had vaccination rates of about 66%.
However, individuals between ages 18 and 49 were least likely to be vaccinated.
According to AP/Modern Healthcare, some providers are using technology -- such as text message reminders, Twitter and Facebook -- to encourage vaccination (AP/Modern Healthcare, 9/17).
Analysis: Seniors Benefit When Others Get Vaccinated
In related news, a recent study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases found that vaccination of healthy individuals younger than age 65 could help to protect older U.S. residents against the flu, Reuters reports.
For the study, researchers looked at CDC data from eight flu seasons between 2002 and 2010. The data included information about flu vaccination rates for 520,229 individuals ages 18 to 64 who lived in 313 urban counties.
According to the study, seniors living in counties with the highest flu vaccination rates among individuals ages 18 to 64 were 21% less likely to contract flu-related illnesses than those living where vaccination rates were lowest, Reuters reports. The study concluded that widespread flu vaccination among young and healthy adults could help to prevent as much as 5.9% of flu diagnoses in seniors (Stephenson, Reuters, 9/17).
Last year marked the highest number of hospitalizations for flu-related illnesses among seniors since CDC researchers began tracking those figures 10 years ago (AP/Modern Healthcare, 9/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.