Doctors say this year’s flu vaccine is only 10 percent effective. Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts what strains of the flu will happen the following year, and this year, it’s not the best match.
“The vaccination this year is only 10 percent effective versus the strains going around right now. We might have a different strain that is prevalent to this community come January/February. And at that point, we might find that the flu vaccination that is offered this year is more effective than the numbers show in the beginning of flu season,” says Dr. Bryson Bowman, emergency physician.
The dominant strain of severe flu that is spreading is called H3N2, which is what the flu vaccine does not protect.
However, the vaccine can protect against other strains.
“However, the CDC still recommends flu vaccine for anybody still 6 months of age or older. because even if the flu isn’t an exact match with the viruses that are spreading. It’s still protective against the flu and making the flu milder,” says Katherine Wells, director of public health with the City of Lubbock.
But, it’s not uncommon for these numbers to be this low.
“In a normal year, getting the influenza vaccination is only going to be 40-60 percent protective for you not getting that virus. It’s lower than in has been in years past, but it’s still not significantly much lower,” says Bowman.
Bowman says they’ve seen more and more mild cases of the flu in the past couple of weeks, and those patients had been immunized. He also says it’s still important to get the shot.
“We’ve seen both Influenza A and Influenza B positive tests, so it’s definitely picking up in this area,” says Bowman.