Health experts: This year's flu vaccine only 10% effective

Health experts: This year's flu vaccine only 10% effective

Officials are predicting this year's flu season will be harsher than normal, and the flu shot may not be as effective at preventing the virus as it has been in the past.

Doctor Daniel Skiest said there have been an uptick in confirmed flu cases in the last week in MA and even within Baystate Medical Center. If you've had your flu shot, doctors say there are signs the vaccine against the main strain is only about 10 percent effective.

But about this year's vaccine: Health authorities are still absolutely clear that getting a vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu, but the New England Journal of Medicine offers some less-than-great news about this vaccine's effectiveness.

You can enter your ZIP Code and find places to get vaccinated here.

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Flu season is expected to peak around Christmas.

For more information visit the CDC's Disease Burden of Influenza and Vaccine Effectiveness webpages.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the flu has caused between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations, and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths annually since 2010.

So, even though flu season has already started, it's not too late to get vaccinated but don't delay since it can take up to 2 weeks for immunity. And although strains that circulate in the Southern Hemisphere often spread to North America and Europe, there's no guarantee it will make a repeat performance.

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Dr Anthony Fauci told: "What happened is, in the development of the vaccine, as we grow it in eggs, the virus itself mutated a bit, so that there was nearly an accidental mismatch purely on the basis of the virus trying to adapt itself to growing in eggs, which is the way you make the vaccine".

In Australia, which can be an indicator of what to expect for Canada's flu season, the shot provided minimal success when it comes to protecting people from the virus. However, while vaccinated people can still get sick, generally they get a milder and less risky form of the illness.

But the Fauci article points to another possible factor: most flu vaccines are grown in eggs. Last year, the state had 15 flu-related deaths, most among the elderly.

And for kids between the ages of 6 months and 8 years who are getting a first-ever flu vaccination, they'll need two doses a month apart.

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