It’s early days yet, but the CDC says the flu season is so far humming along in unspectacular fashion, with plenty of vaccine available that matches up against the strains of the virus in circulation.
(Last year, of course, the H1N1 pandemic strain emerged too late to include it in the usual seasonal flu vaccine, necessitating a separate vaccine.)
Some 119 million doses of this year’s vaccine, which protects against that same H1N1 virus as well as two other flu strains, had been distributed as of Sept. 24, Daniel Jernigan, deputy director of the CDC’s flu division, said at a press conference today. That’s about 30 million more doses than had been distributed at the same time last year.
And stats released by the CDC today in its weekly Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report showed “low levels of influenza activity” from the beginning of the summer through late last month. Despite the apparent return to a more normal flu season, the agency is urging for the first time that everyone older than six months be vaccinated. Recommendations by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices say there’s “evidence that annual influenza vaccination is a safe and effective preventive health action with potential benefit in all age groups.” (Most people need just one vaccination, though some kids will need two depending on their vaccination history.)