Healthcare

CDC head: Flu shots look like ‘a very good match’ for this year’s strains

In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, file photo, a patient receives an influenza vaccine in Mesquite, Texas. Amid all the focus on COVID-19 vaccinations, U.S. health experts have another plea: Don’t skip your flu shot. With U.S. schools and businesses reopened, international travel resuming and far less masking this fall, flu is likely to make a comeback. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters on Monday that the updated flu shots generated this year seem to be “a very good match” for the most prevalent strains of influenza.

“We look in real time as to how well we think the influenza match is to what’s circulating. And right now, the good news is that it looks like it is a very good match,” said Walensky, discussing this year’s version of the annual flu vaccine. 

The CDC shared that its newly revised vaccine was effective in animal tests this season, saying that samples of the inoculative shot were “well recognized” by the immune systems of study subjects.

Monday’s briefing raised concerns about high levels of flu cases already this year, with scientists encouraging the public to get vaccinated for both influenza and COVID-19 ahead of large holiday gatherings and colder weather.

“The rise in cases and hospitalizations is especially worrisome as we move into the winter months, when more people are assembling indoors, with less ventilation, and as we approach the holiday season, where many are gathering with loved ones across multiple generations,” Walensky said.

She added, “I want to emphasize that the flu vaccine can be life-saving and importantly there is still time to get vaccinated to be protected against flu this season.”

The CDC chief shared updated levels of “flu-like illness,” including fevers, coughs and sore throats, claiming that this week illness had reach a “high” or “very high” level in 47 jurisdictions of the country.

Last week found “high” or “very high” levels of flu in 36 jurisdictions, indicating a large increase in cases this week.

This year’s flu season began in October, and since then, there have been approximately 8.7 million cases, 78,000 hospitalizations for flu-like symptoms and 4,500 related deaths, according to the government health agency.

Tags Rochelle Walensky
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