CDC: Flu vaccines just 25% effective against worst strain this year

It's not too late to get a flu shot

"That made the vaccine not as effective". The number of people going to doctors' offices and emergency rooms has surged to levels not reported since the peak of the 2009 swine flu pandemic.

Geographic spread of influenza-like illness (ILI) in Alabama. The strain also mutated while the vaccine itself was being developed, rendering the vaccines less effective than a typical flu vaccine.

New York State is also experiencing a historically devastating flu season. When well matched to circulating viruses, its effectiveness is about 60 percent.

The department has flu vaccine available for both children and adults. "Protection is higher against other strains included in the vaccine and can help flu illness be milder and shorter for those who still get sick".

"There are things that we can do in the interim to figure out which vaccines work better". There are some indications, he said, that some vaccine production techniques produce better H3N2 protection than others do. That could explain why children have been responding better to this season's vaccine. At least 63 child flu deaths have been reported since October 1.

A total of 20 influenza-related deaths were reported last week in San Diego County, bringing this flu season's total fatalities in the region to 251, the county Health and Human Services Agency announced Wednesday. There were 34 deaths reported between January 28 and February 3. A study in Australia suggested the vaccine would be only about 10 percent effective against the H3N2 virus, and a preliminary study from Canada two weeks ago put that figure at 17 percent.

"The risk for H3N2 associated medically attended influenza illness was reduced by more than half (59 percent) among vaccinated children", the team noted.

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Receiving a vaccination is key to decreasing the rate of infection, thereby giving researchers the time to develop effective antiviral therapies to treat those who are more vulnerable.

"We are having these clinics to emphasize it's not too late to get vaccinated because we expect a lot more weeks of seasonal flu that we all know has already been intense", said said Dr. John Dreyzehner, Tennessee Department of Health commissioner, in a news release.

But we all know the flu shot, while helpful - particularly for those in high risk groups like the young, old and those with chronic diseases or immune deficiencies - is not flawless. Highlighting the vaccine's ability to reduce the need for medical treatment in children, Azar tells CNN: "Getting the flu shot is the same kind of sensible precaution as buckling your seat belt".

People with underlying health conditions who are between the ages of 2 and 64 should consult their doctor about which vaccines they should receive and when.

So far, there have been more than 8,000 confirmed flu cases in the state this season. "There is a vaccine specific for people who are older that gives you a higher dose".

However, if you have flu-like symptoms and are in a high risk group, or are very sick or anxious about your illness, contact your health care provider.

Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, is caused by viruses infecting the nose, throat and lungs.

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