Flu vaccines are hit-or-miss - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Flu vaccines are hit-or-miss

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 April 18, 2008

 Albany --  We are emerging from the worst flu season in four years.   Flu cases were up 10 percent here in South Georgia, with nearly three thousand reported cased.

A big part of the problem is that were two other strains of the virus that weren't covered by this year's vaccine.  

In fact, this is the first week since October that there have been no confirmed cases of flu in South Georgia. Health Officials also note that this year's flu season came later, with many of the cases in mid to late March.

Even though the vaccine was only 44 percent effective this year, health professionals say you should still get one every year.  

"It's never going to be 100 percent and it's usually between 70 and 90 percent effective so, even though we were a little off this year it is still worth getting the flu shot because if you get the flu shot and you end up with the flu you'll have less severe illness," said  Epidemiologist Jacqueline Jenkins.  

The elderly and those with respiratory illness are always encouraged to get a flu shot. Based on adult deaths from flu and pneumonia, this season is the worst since 2003-2004.

That was another time when the vaccine did not include the exact flu strain responsible for most illnesses.

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