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Flu season expected to be bad, vaccine may only be 10 percent effective against it

Doctors: 10% effectiveness is better than nothing
Posted at 11:15 PM, Dec 11, 2017

You keep hearing, it's time to get your flu shot.   But new research shows this year's vaccine isn't as effective as last year's.
The effectiveness is related to the changing nature of the flu virus and the strains used to make the vaccine.  Some reports say this year's vaccine is only 10% effective, doctors say, that's better than having no protection at all.     

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 7,000 cases of the flu have been confirmed so far in the U.S. That's more than double the number than last year at this time.

"The data is showing that it's less effective this year, but the flu vaccine and getting the flu vaccine is crucial," Dr. Jason Marx, of The University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center, told ABC2.

Baltimore resident, Sarah Clewell added, "We get it because I'm a teacher and my son is in daycare with germs and I rather not be out for an extended of time you know missing work and trying to take care of him while sick."

Marx says she's right. 

"It decreases your risk in general 40-60 percent decreased the risk of getting the flu if you get it it should be less severe."

Anyone over 6, especially those with preexisting health conditions and the elderly should get the shot. 

"It's still effective enough to where it can be life-saving," said Marx.

So what determines how well it will protect you and your family?

"The different viruses that the scientists put in the vaccine determines its effectiveness," Marx explained.

But that changes from year to year and other areas of the world can determine how the flu affects us.

"We do know that Australia had a very bad flu season this year and that tends to suggest that we too will have a bad flu season," said Marx.

But some people, no matter how much doctors push the shot, won't get it.

"Some people could feel unwell so just because of the side effects no. And all the years I haven't gotten the vaccine I've never gotten the flu," one person told ABC2.

Others say they get it religiously and for good reason.

Cheryl Black said, "In the last 10 years that I've been getting it I think I may have gotten sick once 

There are some states where the flu is already active.  On average, past flu vaccines have been about 42 percent effective but that number can range anywhere from 10 to 60 percent in a given year.

Click here for more information about the flu and flu vaccine.