How effective is this season's flu vaccine? 6 key points

This season's flu vaccine is 48 percent effective, meaning it reduced the risk of influenza-associated medical visits by roughly half, according to a Friday CDC report. Here are six things to know about its efficacy and vaccine coverage this season.

1. Vaccine effectiveness was 43 percent against illness caused by influenza A (H3N2) virus — the most predominant virus strain this season — and 73 percent effective against influenza B virus.

2. Even though the flu vaccine is effective less than half the time, the CDC still urges vaccination. "Vaccination efforts should continue as long as influenza viruses are still circulating," according to the CDC report. The agency urges everyone who is 6 months old or older to get vaccinated "as soon as possible."

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3. The CDC recommends early antiviral treatment in patients with suspected influenza infection, regardless of their vaccination status.

4. Vaccine coverage this season is low: As of November 2016, just 37 percent of children between 6 months and 17 years old were vaccinated, 37 percent of adults ages 18 to 64 were vaccinated and 57 percent of people 65 years old and older had received the vaccine.

5. This season's vaccine is on par with the effectiveness of the 2015-16 season's vaccine, which was 47 percent effective, according to the CDC.

6. The 2016-17 flu season vaccine is much more effective than the 2014-15 season's vaccine, which did not protect against the prominent strains of the season and was effective just 19 percent of the time.

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