The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released the initial "FluView" report for the U.S. 2011-2012 flu season, with the message that flu activity is currently low, making this the perfect time to get vaccinated. According to CDC, there should be lots of vaccine available, became the supply is projected to set a U.S. record.
More than 110 million doses of vaccine had been delivered in the U.S. as of the end of September, with manufacturers projecting total production between 166 and 173 million does. This is the most flu vaccine ever produced for the U.S. market.
The CDC FluView Report is published each Friday from October through mid-May and can be found at www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/fluactivitysurv.htm.
CDC says it knows know from the first report for this season that influenza activity in the U.S. is low now, with few people going to the doctor for flu-like symptoms and few respiratory viruses testing positive for flu. Though the agency can't predict the exact timing, it expects increases in influenza illness, hospitalizations and deaths in the next few weeks.
The good news is that the flu viruses this year's vaccine will protect against are very well matched to those flu viruses that are circulating now, notes CDC, so it's looking like there will be a vaccine that provides good protection this season.
With rare exceptions, CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get an annual flu vaccine.