If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, there’s still time to do it. Now we also know how effective it’s likely to be.
Note: This is a Lifehacker US story. Head to Lifehacker Australia for AU-relevant stories.
On Friday, the CDC released its interim estimates on the 2019-2020 seasonal influenza vaccine’s effectiveness. Overall, it estimates that this year’s vaccine is 45% effective in adults, and 55% effective in kids and teens. That’s a pretty sizable increase from the effectiveness of last year’s vaccine. It was only 29% effective thanks to a late-season surge of the virus.
This year’s flu has involved primarily two different strains of the virus: A/H1N1 and B/Victoria. The vaccine is 50% effective against B/Victoria; however, is only 37% effective against A/H1N1. The vaccine is virtually ineffective against A/H1N1 in individuals ages 18 to 49, but that’s not a reason not to get it.
The more people that are vaccinated against the flu, the healthier the population as a whole will be and the less likely the virus is to spread.
The CDC estimates that there have been around 26 million cases of the flu this year, a quarter-million of those resulting in hospitalizations and 14,000 resulting in death, including 105 children.
The CDC typically recommends that adults and children over 6 months of age get the flu vaccine by the end of October each year. The flu season can last as late as May in the United States, so if you haven’t gotten it yet, getting the shot now could potentially half your chances of catching the virus over the next few months.