Why the flu shot this year may not protect you


Medical officials said people should still get vaccinated, because it's the first and most important way to protect you and those around you from getting the flu.

For many, the flu vaccine is covered under some form of insurance or through Medicare Part B - and often with no out-of-pocket cost. At this time a year ago, only nine people were hospitalized. It may be several years before a universal flu vaccine is available.

One reason for the severe flu season may be that this year's vaccine may have been mismatched for the flu strains that ended up circulating, making the vaccinations ineffective.

Doctor say the best protection against the flu, is the vaccine. The most deaths were prevented during the 2012-2013 season, when almost 9,400 deaths were prevented by vaccination, despite modest estimated vaccine effectiveness that season. The most common flu strain there was the influenza A virus known as H3N2, and the vaccine given to Australians had an effectiveness of only 10 percent, according to preliminary estimates.

FACT: Getting the flu vaccine, even later in the season, can still be beneficial. The vaccine stimulates the body's immune system to make antibodies, which can recognize and attack that specific strain of virus inside the body. "It doesn't prevent the flu, but it does protect against the flu so now's the time to get your flu shot", Navarrette said.

MYTH 4: Everyone receives the same type of flu shot.

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Medical experts are warning that the upcoming flu season could be a bad one, with this year's vaccine not proving particularly effective.

MYTH 5: Flu vaccines are only for really sick people. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications.

FACT: Influenza certainly does not discriminate.

The CDC estimated the influenza vaccine prevented over 40,000 flu-related deaths from 2005 to 2014, but the authors on the perspective concluded the scientists developing more influenza vaccines "can do better".

"Just because it was the predominant strain in Australia six months ago doesn't mean it will be the predominant strain here", Dr. Charles Bregier, with Novant Health, said.