CDC posts updates on flu shot, COVID-19: 2 notes

The CDC has started publishing weekly updates on respiratory viruses, with the latest focused on flu shot efficacy and the BA.2.86 COVID-19 variant. 

Two things to know, based on the CDC's Sept. 8 updates: 

  • Flu shot: The influenza vaccine in the Southern Hemisphere reduced the risk of hospitalizations by 52 percent, indicating flu shots in the U.S. will offer similar levels of protection against severe illness. Vaccines for the 2023-24 U.S. flu season have a similar virus composition as those used in the Southern Hemisphere. Overall, flu activity remains low across the nation, though the CDC anticipates levels to increase over the next few weeks. Read more about what the flu season may have in store for the U.S. here


  • BA.2.86: The current upticks in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are not being driven by this variant, according to the agency's latest risk assessment on the distant omicron relative. Early data also offers "reassuring" evidence that existing antibodies work well against the strain, which has been detected in nine states. While experts continue to keep an eye on BA.2.86 as sequences continue to roll in, it may not be as worrisome as they originally feared, with recent data from two separate labs showing it does not have further immune escape compared to other variants. 

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