Flu Shot Effectiveness
A typical flu season can begin as early as October and last until as late as May. In addition, January and February are the peak of flu season, leaving us in the midst of the illness. This flu season the flu vaccine has received a large amount of controversial attention due to early studies of its low effectiveness of preventing the flu.
Generally speaking, according to the CDC, the vaccine effectiveness can range from 10- 60% each season to prevent flu-related visits to physician offices and urgent care clinics. This means it helps in the reduction in risk provided by the flu vaccine, meaning about 60% of those vaccinated have a reduced risk of developing the flu virus.
The effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies from year to year, as well as among different age and risk groups, so it’s unknown how well the vaccine will work. Also, most of the flu viruses that are circulating this season are not the same from those of the vaccine virus. This ultimately reflects on why the rate of effectiveness is as low as it is. With that said, it is almost impossible to fully prevent the flu, even if you were the optimal patient and the flu vaccine covered all strains.
The most important part about getting the flu vaccine is to help prevent complications and hospitalizations resulting from the flu. The CDC always recommends getting an annual flu shot, as even a less effective vaccine will still prevent hospitalizations and complications.