Flu Vaccine Doing a Relatively Good Job This Season - NBC10 Boston
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Flu Vaccine Doing a Relatively Good Job This Season

Last winter was dominated by a nasty kind of flu, but the virus is somewhat milder in most parts of the U.S. this year

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    CDC-Recommended Tips on Avoiding the Flu at Work

    The CDC recommends getting a flu shot early during flu season.

    (Published Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018)

    What to Know

    • Flu is widespread in 47 states and officials at the CDC don't know if the season has peaked

    • It's possible that a more severe flu virus is spreading to more states

    The flu vaccine is doing a relatively good job this season, protecting about half the people who got it, U.S. health officials said Thursday.

    Preliminary figures suggest the vaccine is 47 percent effective in preventing flu illness severe enough to send someone to the doctor's office. Health officials are generally pleased if a flu vaccine works in 40 to 60 percent of people.

    "These are early estimates, but they are encouraging," said Dr. Alicia Fry of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Somewhere between 10,000 and 16,000 people have died from flu and its complications so far this season, according to new estimates released Thursday.

    How to Properly Wash Your Hands

    [NATL] How to Properly Wash Your Hands

    It may seem simple, but you may not be properly washing your hands. Follow these simple steps to keep your hands clean.

    (Published Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017)

    Last winter was dominated by a nasty kind of flu, and the vaccine's weakness against it was one reason it was the deadliest flu season in at least four decades. An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications.

    This winter, in most parts of the country, most illnesses are being caused by a somewhat milder virus that vaccines tend to perform better against.

    Overall, flu is widespread in 47 states, according to the most recent CDC data. Health officials don't know if flu season has peaked yet, Fry said.

    They also are seeing evidence that a more severe flu virus is spreading to more states.

    It's unusual to see a later surge of nastier illnesses in a season initially dominated by a milder flu bug, and it's not clear why that's happening, said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University infectious diseases expert.

    The early estimates on the vaccine's potency offer only a fuzzy picture. For example, there weren't enough sick patients of different ages to produce a reliable estimate of how it did in the elderly, who are at greater risk from flu and its complications.

    Clerk Pulls Out Machete on Would-Be Robber

    [NATL] Clerk Pulls Out Machete on Would-Be Robber

    A would-be robber armed with a knife had a surprise in store when an Alabama store clerk pulled out a machete in defense. The two's brief knife fight was caught on camera before the clerk runs out to damage the robber's car.

    According to police, suspect Seth Holcomb walked up to the counter to make a purchase. He leaves the store and then comes back in as if to make a second purchase. Then, he pulled out a knife at the counter. What he didn't expect was that the clerk would pull out a machete of his own.

    (Published Wednesday, March 20, 2019)

    Some other types of vaccines — like the one against measles, mumps and rubella — are far more effective in preventing people from getting sick than the flu vaccine. But experts say flu is a quick-changing and elusive target.

    A flu vaccine that works around half the time "is the best that science can produce at the current time," Schaffner said.