Flu vaccine more effective this year; milder season so far

February 24, 2016
FILE - This Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015 file photo shows single dosage syringes of the Fluarix quadrivalent influenza virus vaccine in New York. According to numbers presented at a medical meeting in Atlanta on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, the flu vaccine is doing a better job in 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

FILE – This Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015 file photo shows single dosage syringes of the Fluarix quadrivalent influenza virus vaccine in New York. According to numbers presented at a medical meeting in Atlanta on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, the flu vaccine is doing a better job in 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

NEW YORK (AP) — The flu vaccine is doing a better job this year.

Preliminary data suggest it is 59 percent effective. That’s a big improvement from last winter’s nasty flu season when the vaccine was less than 20 percent effective.

Unlike last year’s vaccine, this year’s is a good match to the strains making people sick.

It’s been a milder flu season so far, though health officials said it has not yet peaked.

The numbers were presented Wednesday at a meeting in Atlanta of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which gives advice on vaccine use to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The committee also amended its flu vaccine guidance for people with egg allergies, saying research has shown it’s OK for them to get the nasal spray version made from live virus grown in eggs.

The panel also said doctors no longer need to watch those with egg allergies for a half hour after a vaccination. But those who’ve had severe reactions should get vaccinated in a doctor’s office or medical setting.

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