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Flu Activity Still Rising; Likely to Continue for Weeks
Vaccine Is 62 Percent Effective, Says CDC Director
By News Staff
Given the 2012-13 flu season's earlier-than-normal start, and with most of the country currently affected, said Frieden, "it's likely that influenza will continue for several more weeks."
"But, as we often say, the only thing predictable about flu is that it's unpredictable. Only time will tell us how long our season will last and how moderate or how severe this season will be in the end."
- The CDC reports "widespread geographic influenza activity" in 47 states.
- Flu activity likely will remain elevated for several more weeks.
- Roughly 37 percent of Americans had been vaccinated as of mid-November.
- The current vaccine is estimated to be 62 percent effective.
Still Time to Immunize
Current CDC data indicate that more than 130 million doses of vaccine have been given already, and roughly 37 percent of Americans had been vaccinated as of mid-November. "The message is that a lot of the vaccine in the United States has been given by this time of the year by a lot of doctors' offices, so it may be that you have to call a couple places to find the vaccine … but it should be available for you," said Bresee.
Stay Up-to-Date on Vaccine Recommendations
"About 90 percent of all of the strains circulating are included in the vaccine," he said. "In fact … the pick of vaccine strains was as good as it could have been this year. The other close to 10 percent (includes) a second influenza B, and within a year or two, we do expect manufacturers to have on the market vaccines that have space for four different vaccines, including two influenza Bs."
"The goal, clearly, is to find a vaccine against influenza that you don't have to give every year -- that works better and can work for more people," he said. "I think there's hundreds of labs around the world and hundreds of field sites around the world that are actively studying this area, so, hopefully, in the next several years, we'll get those greater vaccines. In the meantime, we have better and better vaccines every year."
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