Health officials: Flu shot may only be 10% effective this season

Flu clinic available to community at no cost

"Especially now, during the holiday season of crowds and gatherings of friends and family, everyone older than 6 months should get a flu shot", said Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD.

The flu season typically begins in October and continues into May.

This possibility underscores the need to strive toward a "universal" influenza vaccine that will protect against seasonal influenza drift variants as well as potential pandemic strains, with better durability than current annual vaccines.

Flu activity is listed as widespread in four states: Massachusetts, Georgia, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu. The dominant flu virus strain is H3N2, which can result in more severe illnesses than other strains. Reports from Australia have caused mounting concern, with record-high numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications and outbreaks and higher-than-average numbers of hospitalizations and deaths and that the vaccine, which is similar to the one being used in the US had only a 10 percent effectiveness. Complications from the flu can be very serious, especially to certain high-risk groups, which includes seniors (those age 65 and older), children (especially those age 2 and younger), pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions such as chronic respiratory illness and diabetes.

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It's not too late to receive a flu shot, according to the release.

If you're 65 or older, there are two vaccine options created to boost immune response. "It is not an understatement to say their lives may depend on you". The cost of adult flu vaccine is $25.00.

Flu shots can be obtained at most pharmacies, walk-in clinics and doctor's offices, free of charge.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't go out and get your flu vaccine, Hirsch cautions.

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