A recent study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found a decline in the efficacy of the flu vaccine against the virus during the 2014-2015 season.
By Jan. 3, 46 states were facing widespread flu activity, the CDC said. The report presents an initial estimate of the effectiveness of the flu vaccine at preventing the flu virus based on data from 2,321 U.S. children and adults.
The study found the vaccine's effectiveness to be 23 percent below levels in previous years. The CDC said the decline is tied to a viral mutation.
Despite the decline in efficacy, the CDC recommends that everyone 6 months old and up get the vaccination.
“The vaccine can still prevent some infections with the circulating A (H3N2) viruses and might also prevent serious complications requiring hospitalization. Also, vaccine might protect against other influenza viruses that can circulate later,” the study's authors said.
To decrease the spread of influenza, the CDC recommends practicing respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette, social distancing (e.g., staying home from work and school when sick or staying away from others who are sick) and hand washing.