Recent news about flu shot effectiveness causing confusion

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This year, the percentage of patients reporting flu-like symptoms reached the threshold of 2.2% by late November, an indication that flu season has started. On average, more than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized each year for illnesses associated with seasonal influenza virus infections. "It's important that North Georgians understand the best way to protect against influenza is to receive an annual flu vaccine".

Flu season has arrived early to North America this year, and it may end up being a doozy.

The Centers for Disease Control says confirmed cases are at just over 7,000.

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The report warns flu vaccines may only be 10% effective.

Despite recent news that the flu shot may not be as effective as in the past, health officials are still recommending that people get the shot.

So far a total of 671 cases statewide for the season, 20 of which were from Coconino County, and as you might expect reported cases are only a small percentage of the actual cases of the flu we see people suffering from within our community... Getting a flu vaccine is more convenient than ever. Experts worry because the H3N2 portion of the vaccine used here in the U.S.is identical to the one used in Australia.

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The Journal noted that another factor in the vaccine's ineffectiveness this year is the way it's made, using eggs to grow the strains.

"Based on what is in the vaccine versus a genetic analysis of strains that have been isolated, there is a ideal match", Venglarcik said. "That is why a true vaccine effectiveness really is not available for peer review for about 18 months after the season is over", said Dr. John Venglarcik, infectious disease physician.

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