The Flu Shot Is More Effective Than We Thought This Year

By Rachael Rettner

It’s been a bad flu season, but this year’s vaccine does offer some protection against the nasty bug, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CDC researchers estimate that this year’s flu shot reduced people’s risk of going to the doctor for flu-related visits by 36 percent overall. The shot was 25-percent effective against H3N2, the main strain of flu circulating this year, according to the report, which was published today (Feb. 15).

This year, the flu shot has been most effective for young children ages 6 months to 8 years; in this group, it has reduced the risk of going to the doctor because of the flu by 59 percent overall. (The researchers measured the vaccine’s effectiveness by looking at people who went to the doctor for the flu, and examining whether or not they had been vaccinated.) The shot has also been 33-percent effective for those ages 18 to 49. However, for people in other age groups, including those over age 65 who are at particularly high risk for flu complications, the shot has not significantly lowered the risk of flu.

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