Three-quarters of Americans may still get the flu this year even after having gotten the flu shot. Due to the confusion of what it covers and what strain is actually causing the illness, the flu shot is only 23% effective, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While this may sound alarming, the CDC had actually predicted this percentage last year, when they found the H3N2 flu virus had genetically changed since the shots were made. Effectiveness varies widely by age, being most effect in young and healthy patients (26%), and least effective in the elderly (14%). However, these results are not statistically significant because there is currently too little data at this point in the flu season. CDC still recommends vaccination because the virus could shift again before the flu season ends. For those who become sick, CDC recommends prompt treatment with antivirals such as Roche’s Tamiflu. How does this information affect your thoughts and recommendations on the annual flu shots?
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