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

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Some flu shots protect against three flu viruses and some protect against four flu viruses. "Flu viruses are notoriously unpredictable, but from the information I've received, all indications point to a possibly severe flu season in Vermont". Reports from Australia have caused mounting concern, with record-high numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications and outbreaks and higher-than-average numbers of hospitalizations and deaths and that the vaccine, which is similar to the one being used in the US had only a 10 percent effectiveness.

There are a several different strains of flu viruses, and the main culprit in Australia was a strain called H3N2.

That same strain, H3N2, was the most common strain of virus in North America last season, and is likely to be this year as well. While this year's vaccine works well against numerous flu virus strains out there, recent studies indicate the vaccine is less effective against the H3N2 strain. Flu related complications can include pneumonia and dehydration. That's important because up to a month after older adults have recovered from the flu, they're still at an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

If you're 65 or older, there are two vaccine options created to boost immune response.

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"The absolute best thing you can do to prevent illness, hospitalizations and even death from flu complications, is to get your flu shot", said Dr. Levine.

The authors want that however imperfect, though, current influenza vaccines remain a valuable public health tool, and it is always better to get vaccinated than not to get vaccinated. The cost of adult flu vaccine is $25.00.

Flu shots are available throughout Chatham-Kent from a family healthcare provider, walk-in clinic or many local pharmacies. To find a location near you to get the flu vaccine, go to healthvermont.gov/flu or dial 2-1-1.

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