This year’s influenza vaccine is more effective than last year’s; there’s months left in flu season, and shots are available

Flu vaccinations are easy to get. (Photo from

This year’s flu vaccine is more effective than last year’s and up to three months remain in the current flu season, so experts advise those who haven’t been vaccinated to do so.

“Preliminary figures released Thursday suggest the vaccine is 47 percent effective in reducing a person’s risk of becoming sick enough to need to see a doctor. A final estimate for last season showed the vaccine was about 40 percent effective. Even in a good year, the flu vaccine is never as effective as most other vaccines,” Lena Sun reports for The Washington Post. This year’s vaccine formula is “even more effective — about 61 percent — in children, who are among the groups most vulnerable to flu-related complications.”

The estimates were released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which advises, “The vaccine can still prevent illness, hospitalization, and death associated with currently circulating influenza viruses, or other influenza viruses that might circulate later in the season. During the 2017–18 influenza season . . . vaccination was estimated to prevent 7.1 million illnesses, 3.7 million medical visits, 109,000 hospitalizations, and 8,000 deaths.”

Sun writes, “In a reminder of how deadly the respiratory virus can be, federal health officials estimate that as many as 16,000 people have died of flu this season, more than what would be expected so far in a relatively mild season.” Flu season usually runs into May.

Previous Article
Next Article