MA health officials are urging vaccination. "This one arrived early and continues to spread, leading many people throughout the Commonwealth to get sick". She added that influenza-like-illness across the country is now as bad as the 2009 H1N1 pandemic's peak. The decision is made months in advance, when it is hard to know what strains will be circulating.
Although the overall efficacy of this year's vaccine falls below 50 percent, it is still considered the best course of defense against the flu, as it is significantly more effective than previous formulations. The flu vaccine does not contain active viruses and can not infect you. That strain, which always poses a vaccine challenge, is behind three-quarters of verified flu cases so far this season, CDC said.
"There are things that we can do in the interim to figure out which vaccines work better".
"That's higher than we typically see for H3N2", said Ed Belongia, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Wisconsin. The CDC uses data from the U.S. Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network - five study sites across the U.S. Childhood deaths have reached about 170 in a season.
"Even if you've had the flu, it's not too late to get your shot", Haselow said.
3, the CDC has reported a total of 63 flu-related pediatric deaths nationwide. There were 34 deaths reported between January 28 and February 3.
And, as Schuchat noted, the vaccine was 51 percent effective against this strain in young children.
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According to Stumpf, the West Milford Health Department has administered more than 270 flu vaccines and still has flu vaccine available for those who wish to be immunized.
A steady stream of mostly children accompanied by their parents showed up at the Citizens Center after school on Wednesday to receive their flu shots.
"Getting the flu shot is the same kind of sensible precaution as buckling your seatbelt", said Health Secretary Alex Azar. He said he, his wife and two children have all been vaccinated. Health officials are also reminding clinicians to promptly treat flu patients - particularly young children and those who are who are at high risk of serious flu complications - with antiviral medications.
The 2017-18 flu season has been one of the worst in a decade with no immediate end in sight.
"It's mostly to protect my granddaughter, who has a low immune system", Woolf said. "There is a vaccine specific for people who are older that gives you a higher dose".