Better vaccine match likely making flu season easier, experts say

New Study Finds the Flu is Spread by Breathing

The 2018-19 flu season is shaping up to be a relatively mild one, and it may be thanks, at least in part, to a better match with the flu vaccine.

Midseason estimates suggest that the flu shot has reduced the risk of illness by around 47 percent in vaccinated people, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During the 2017-18 flu season, vaccine effectiveness was estimated at just 36 percent.

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Flu vaccine effectiveness of 47 percent means you are half as likely to come down with the flu this season if you have been immunized. But even if you come down with the flu, the flu vaccine can still offer protection.

This year's flu vaccine is especially effective in children, at 61 percent. Experts said even if the vaccine is not a perfect match, the vaccine can still help lessen the severity of the flu, and reduce the chance of experiencing severe complications. Getting a vaccine also can reduce the length of the flu if you do get sick.

An estimated 80 percent of children who died last year from the flu didn’t get the flu vaccine.

In the most recent data set from the influenza report compiled by the CDC, 32 states experienced high levels of the flu, including Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky and New York.

Researchers are reporting that the flu shot helped reduce the illness this by almost 50 percent. An estimated 80 percent of children who died last year from the flu didn’t get the flu vaccine.