20 February, 2017
Tennessee is now among the states with the highest levels of flu activity according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
'It's good news and underscores the importance and the benefit of both annual and ongoing vaccination efforts this season'.
"We won't know when the peak has occurred until we've passed it and have a couple of weeks to look back", said Lynnette Brammer, head of domestic influenza surveillance at the CDC.
During the 2015-16 season, vaccine effectiveness was 47 percent - similar to this season.
"Influenza activity may have peaked where there were early peaks in the Northwest and on the West Coast", said Flannery.
Fishman and Lorber agreed that there have been a lot of sick people this year, but, generally, the symptoms have been milder. All but one of those deaths were people age 50 or older.
Flu vaccine is now being offered at no charge to patients at county health departments across the state. A department statement said vaccines can lower the chances of catching the flu by more than 60 percent.More news: German shepherd named Rumor is America's new top dog
Overall deaths from pneumonia and flu were at 7.8%, keeping the level above the epidemic threshold of 7.5% for this point in the flu season. "So there are individual factors as well as the circulating viruses that influence vaccine effectiveness".
This season will be the first since 2013 that the flu nasal spray is not available due to new data that questioned its efficacy.
'You won't have to be admitted to the hospital, you won't have to go to the ICU, and you won't die'. While seasonal flu-related deaths of people older than 18 years of age are not reportable, those among children are reported. Plus, we should be getting the shots not just to protect ourselves but to protect coworkers and family members who are more vulnerable to serious complications.
"So half a loaf is better than none", said Schaffner.
"The influenza vaccine is the best way to prevent influenza, " said Dr. Cara Christ, DHS director. This significant increase brought the number of lab-confirmed cases this flu season to approximately 3,300.
"If you haven't gotten vaccinated and you haven't gotten sick yet, run - do not walk - this afternoon". "It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to be effective, so now is a really good time to get that protection if you have not already", according to McHugh.