The flu vaccine is kind of a crap shoot. Every year, doctors formulate a new vaccine based off of whatever strains of the flu were more active the previous flu season, and every year, if they’re lucky, they get it about half right. There’s no universal flu vaccine, despite the best efforts of doctors, and sometimes halfway is the best they can do. Even by those low standards, this year’s flu season has been bad. That’s because this year’s flu vaccine is, to put it frankly, completely wrong. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say this year’s flu vaccine is the least effective vaccine in a decade.
“The influence of viruses is always changing and keeping up with them means we have to constantly update the influenza vaccine. Effectiveness can range from 10 to 60 percent,” Dr. Alicia Fry of the CDC said.
The decision which three or four flu strains to include in this year’s vaccine was made last February, and judging by the high activity of this year’s flu season, they guessed wrongly. However, that small amount of overlap is enough for experts to recommend that people still get the flu vaccine. It won’t prevent the flu, but it will make the illness a bit less debilitating and last a little less in duration than not having the shot at all.
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