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    Flu vaccine 62% effective, CDC reports

     

    The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) early estimates of the effectiveness of the seasonal influenza vaccine is 62%.

    “This interim estimate indicates moderate effectiveness,” CDC stated in its recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. At the same time, vaccination reduced the risk for flu-related medical visits by approximately 60%.

    As of January 11, 2013, 24 states and New York City were reporting high levels of influenza-like illness, 16 states were reporting moderate levels, and 5 states were reporting low levels. More than 128 million doses of flu vaccine has been distributed in the United States for the 2012-2013 season by January 4, out of an estimated 135 million doses that were anticipated to be available for the US market, according to CDC.

    “As this time, some vaccine providers might have exhausted their vaccine supplies. Persons seeking vaccination might have need to call more than one provider to locate vaccine,” CDC stated.

    While CDC recommends that the annual influenza vaccination efforts continue as long as flu viruses are circulating, the early estimates “underscore that some vaccinated persons will become infected with influenza,” according to MMWR. “Therefore, antiviral medications should be used as recommended for treatment in patients, regardless of vaccination status,” CDC said.

    The early results also highlight the importance of continued efforts to develop more effective vaccines.

    For its early estimate—which is similar to an estimate from a metaanalysis of randomized controlled clinical trial data—CDC analyzed data from 1,155 adults and children with acute respiratory infection from December 3, 2012, through January 2, 2013.