CDC: Infection Prevention Effectiveness of Flu Vaccine Below 50%

By on 6:00 AM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that the effectiveness of this year's flu vaccine against all influenza virus infection is 47%.

The shot's effectiveness varies based on age. CDC stated that for children aged 6 months to 17 years of age, the overall vaccine infection prevention effectiveness was 61% while for adults 50 and older, the overall effectiveness was 24%.

As we recently noted, influenza activity is elevated. While this year's flu vaccine appears to be less effective than one would hope, of note is the protective action it provides against the risks such as pneumonia, so the latest data on effectiveness should not be a deterrent for receiving the vaccine.

As the CDC states, "Vaccination remains the best method for preventing influenza and its potentially serious complications, including those that can result in hospitalization and death. In particular, vaccination has been found to reduce the risk for influenza-associated deaths in children. During past seasons, including the 2017–18 season, approximately 80% of reported pediatric influenza-associated deaths have occurred in children who were not vaccinated. Vaccination also has been found to reduce the risk for influenza-associated hospitalization in pregnant women and can reduce the risk for cardiac events among persons with heart disease."

During the 2017–18 influenza season, CDC reports that vaccination was estimated to prevent more 7 million illnesses, 3.7 million medical visits, 109,000 hospitalizations and 8,000 deaths.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.