Australian Researchers: This Year's Flu Shot Just 10% Effective


Most provide modest to high protection against influenza; however, each year this varies. Most flu shots are fully covered by insurance.

Australia's most recent flu season - which typically sets a pattern for what the US will face - was particularly rough and the flu vaccine was only 10 percent effective there.

'Immunization programs should work with community leaders to promote vaccination, ensure all members have access to flu vaccination, and ensure that all members understand the importance of flu vaccination in preventing disease, ' the authors said. How many people get the flu in any given year depends in part on the effectiveness of the vaccine. But it's too early to say how effective this year's shot will be.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that previous year in the United States alone, 25 million people suffered from influenza-related illnesses, resulting in 11 million flu-associated medical visits.

A huge spike in the number of flu cases could portend a particularly bad year for the flu in Arizona.

"We haven't even hit the peak season, so this would be a flawless time for people to go out and get their flu shot", Sixberry said.

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Shelton noted flu and ILI seem especially prevalent in Northern Virginia now, but she and MSHA officials urged everyone to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting a flu vaccine and using common-sense preventative measures such as hand washing and covering coughs. Additionally, if you are sick, then you will need to stay home and rest. Doctors, she said, may prescribe anti-viral medication for those with higher-risk conditions.

Heather Ren, with HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield says even in a good year, the flu vaccine is roughly 60% effective.

There are many varieties of the flu vaccine.

That 10 percent number actually reflects how effective the flu shot was in Australia's flu season a few months ago, during our summer. By the end of last week, seven states reported widespread flu activity: Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Virginia.

Although H3N2 is not as virulent as some other strains of flu, it mutates very easily, making it stronger against the body's immune system.

To help make the flu shot experience easier, officials advise that individuals can take Tylenol or ibuprofen if they experience mild side effects from the vaccine, which typically last a day or two.