Health officials: Flu shot may only be 10% effective this season

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"Getting an annual flu vaccination protects seniors, and everyone around them, too, including their grandchildren".

Flannery explained that the journal article looked at Australia's most recent flu season and highlights the low vaccine effectiveness against one type of influenza: the H3N2 strain predominating in the USA today.

Five children have died, and an additional 566 flu-related hospitalizations have occurred as of November 25. Last year's flu vaccine effectiveness was just 42%, the CDC estimated this year, while preliminary estimates published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggest that this year's vaccine may be just 10% effective. A typical case can last close to a week; serious complications include dehydration and pneumonia.

The best protection against the flu is the flu vaccine.

Each flu season is unique; the timing of the peak activity and how severe a season will be are hard to predict, making it very important to protect yourself against flu as early as possible. He encourages people age 65 and older to talk with their doctor about getting one of the vaccines created to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu.

For answers to questions about the flu and the flu vaccine, people can access the CDC website at www.cdc.gov, or contact the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department at 325-646-0554.

Tonda Francis, vice president of Regional Coordination and Clinical Initiatives at the Health Collaborative, said the rate of employees who are terminated for refusing flu shots is low.

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For the elderly or others who are especially vulnerable, a doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to help lesson symptoms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, several strains of influenza virus are in circulation.

However, doctors insist we can not underestimate the importance of "herd immunity", and that the shot may be more effective as lessening illness in those who do get sick.

"It makes me a little sad that people across the country - especially pregnant women - may not be getting the recommended and appropriate health care", Altmann said.

"But we can not say we will go on to experience the kind of severe season Australia had, in part because we ourselves had a fairly severe epidemic due to H3N2 in 2016-17", Skowronski said.

County health district officials in Reno said Thursday both victims were 80 years old and both were at risk for complications of the flu due to underlying medical conditions.

This fall Harvest Drug & Gifts has given between 500 to 600 flu vaccines. "And there are a lot of H1N1 and B viruses out there", Brammer said.

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