Report from the CDC shows 2017-18 flu vaccine is 36% effective - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Report from the CDC shows 2017-18 flu vaccine is 36% effective

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New data released by the CDC shows the flu vaccination is 36% effective for the 2017-18 flu season.

This estimation is higher than earlier estimates, which said the vaccine was only about 10 percent effective early in the flu season. Those low estimates are what medical professionals blame for people skipping the vaccine this year.

In October, Sally W. Ziegler, an early childhood specialist, received her flu vaccine just like she normally has for the past 10 years. But this time, it didn't prevent her from getting sick.

"I woke up on a Saturday morning feeling a little under the weather," Ziegler said, "The next day I woke up and I knew I knew with the flu I hurt from my hair follicles down to my toenails and everything in between."

This reaction, unfortunately, is more common this year than it has been in the past.

"Probably the most striking thing here is that the flu vaccine does not appear to be as effective this year as year's past so we are seeing people who have had flu vaccine coming down with the flu," commented Dr. Gina Bamberger, a physician with UCHealth Sunflower Primary Care. 

This particular flu season has seen the lowest vaccine effectiveness, or VE rate, in three seasons. 

  • 48 percent in 2015-2016
  • 40 percent in 2016-2017
  • 36 percent in 2017-18

Even so, doctors and the CDC still recommend receiving the vaccine.

"It’s your best bet against preventing hospitalization and even death," continued Bamberger. 

And Ziegler said she wouldn't stop taking the vaccine.

"All I can think of, is as sick as I was for 14 full days with the flu shot, if I hadn't had the flu shot, how sick would I have been?" Ziegler said.

While the flu vaccine may be the number one defense against the flu, a close number two, recommended by doctors and teachers alike, is simply staying home when under the weather.

"We cannot emphasize strongly enough how important it is to keep your children home when they're sick, until they are well. Sometimes parents will medicate children and kind of slide them in, but we know the children and we know when they're on [medication]. So it really is hurting not just their child, but the people that care for them," Bamberger said.

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