According to preliminary data released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu vaccine has been 68% effective at preventing hospitalizations in children, but it has been less effective at protecting seniors this season.
In one study, the vaccine was effective at preventing hospitalization for seniors by 35%, and in a second analysis, it was effective at 42%. In one study, the vaccine reduced the risk of hospitalization by 44%, while in another, it reduced the risk of hospitalization by 30%.
The US CDC’s data indicate that the weekly hospitalization rate peaked in December 2022 and has since decreased, indicating that the flu hit early in the season. Since October 2022, the flu has been responsible for 18,000 deaths, 280,000 hospitalizations, and 25 million illnesses. In excess of 100 kids have kicked the bucket from influenza this season.
After two years in which the virus circulated at low levels, cases of the flu increased last fall as a result of the masking and social distancing measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a brief and anticipated increase in hospitalizations and cases around the holidays, the country is now seeing a continued decrease in COVID-19, influenza, and RSV cases and hospitalizations. The simultaneous circulation of COVID-19, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus put significant pressure on hospitals and drug supply chains in the United States.