"By looking closely at the available data and applying the lessons we learn each flu season to the vaccine development process, we offer the greatest chance of developing vaccines that even more effectively prevent the flu in the future", Gottlieb said.
Over the last two weeks, there has been a decline in the number of people going to the doctor with flu-like symptoms, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Independent experts are cheering the return of the nasal vaccine for the next flu season because of its potential to increase the vaccination rate among children.
"We believe that this is a good sign that we may be starting to trend downward", said Lara Anton, spokeswoman for the Department of State Health Services, adding that more than half of recent positive tests find the B strain. Of note, the effectiveness of the vaccine against H3N2 in children 6 months to 8 years of age was 51 percent this season, yet the effectiveness in those 65 years and older was only 17 percent, and the effectiveness in older children and adults under 65 years of age was even lower. "The flu is extremely unpredictable, so it's hard to say, yeah, this is it".
However, the bad implications of this flu season continue to be felt.
At least 97 children have died, and schools in at least 23 states have closed for a day or longer, due to flu-related symptoms since October 1, according to federal officials.
This year, the current flu outbreak is the H3N2 Influenza A strong.
However, the vaccine proved significantly less effective at general prevention than the flu shot.
"What we're seeing now is a decrease in the amount of the strain that was less effective by the flu vaccine". By comparison it is 42 percent effective against influenza Type B viruses in Europe. "Unfortunately, there will be another flu season to come".
This will include comparing outcomes for people who got the standard vaccine versus a "high-dose" version that contains about four times as much influenza material or immune-triggering antigen. According to a February 17 flu report issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the 2017-2018 season has seen the highest number of influenza-associated hospitalizations in a single season for Colorado.
The flu season, which started earlier and was more severe than previous years, slammed emergency rooms and doctors' offices across the Chicago area and nationwide. We must continue to be diligent in doing our part to prevent the spread of flu however possible, including remembering to wash your hands frequently and staying home when you are sick. It can also reduce your contagiousness to others, so if you live with somebody who would really get sick with the flu, get vaccinated.