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Flu shot effectiveness questioned

Published On: Feb 22 2013 05:14:36 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 22 2013 04:59:00 PM CST

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reporting this year's vaccine hasn't done a great job protecting people.

Did you get your flu shot this year? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reporting this year's vaccine hasn't done a great job protecting people.

Health officials aren't sure why. Emergency rooms were slammed about a month ago with people sick from the flu.

Some of those sick did what doctors suggest to prevent it.

The flu shot is supposed to stop the virus before it starts. Melissa Stanley tells us even though she was vaccinated in October, she had a stroke of bad luck. "Around the middle of January, I came home from work and I was very sick," she said. "I went to the doctor, they administered the flu test and it came back positive."

She's not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say of those vaccinated there was only a 56 percent chance of avoiding the flu.

When it comes to senior citizens, the CDC finds the flu shot was only nine percent effective this year. Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt medical center explains why -- "The flu strain that was around was particularly aggressive," he said. "Of course older persons are simply more susceptible to serious complications from influenza."'

Health officials aren't sure why the vaccine didn't do a better job. We learned that each year the flu vaccine is tweaked because the viruses mutate. Work is underway to better protect the elderly.

Here in the Tri-Cities the flu has tapered off. We asked Andrew Brown with First Assist Urgent Care if getting a flu shot means you'll get sick with the flu. "It's a dead virus, it is impossible for it to give you the flu," he explained. "It might give you a low-grade temperature and body aches for a day or so afterwards and that's your body's immune system reacting to the dead virus."

Here in the Tri-Cities, doctors tell us the flu is still circulating and it's not too late to get a flu shot. If you've had your flu shot and you wind up getting the flu, Dr. Brown says the symptoms won't be as severe.