Did You Get Your Flu Shot - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

Did you get your flu shot this year?

Experts say that this season’s vaccine is only 36 percent effective overall, and only 25 percent effective against the worst strain, but everyone needs it anyway.

The current vaccine, according to experts, still provides some protection against H3N2 – the flu virus that can change faster than any other flu virus transmitted among humans. The 25 percent effective rate, experts say, means that “one in four people who get the shot reduce their risk of becoming sick enough to need to see a doctor.”

It’s tough for health officials to predict which flu strains will pop up in any given year, so they must pick three or four strains and tell vaccine makers which ones to target for an upcoming season. They make the decision months before flu season starts, so health officials have to rely on past data and what they know about current strains to make the best predictions they can.

This flu season, kids and the elderly are far more at-risk than healthy adults are. At least 63 child flu deaths have already been reported since October 1, 2017, and about 80 percent of the kids who died were not fully vaccinated.

“I would still take 25 percent over nothing any day of the week,” said Ed Belongia, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Wisconsin.

What Do You Think?

Have you gotten your flu shot this year, or do you plan to? How do you feel about its efficacy rate, and do you know anyone who’s gotten the flu this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please share them on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino