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Flu Shots Less Effective

Published On: Mar 03 2013 03:57:00 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 25 2013 04:08:22 AM CDT

In a Public Health Alert, the flu shot may not protect people as much as health officials once thought. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) latest numbers show this year's vaccine is only 56 percent effective. With a month left in one of the worst flu seasons, more people are expected to get the bug. Simply put, even if you had a flu shot you are still likely to get sick. The new CDC statistics show the vaccine is only working 47 percent of the time against Strain A and only nine percent for those 65 years of age and older. Amie Hull got the flu shot this year and also got the flu, while Gus Aslanidis didn't get the immunization and didn't get sick. "It was my first flu shot and then I had the flu," said Hull. When ABC 17 News asked Aslanidis why he didn't get the flu shot, and he said, "I didn't for two reasons... One because they actually hurt all the time when I get them and two, it never seems like it works." Dr. Jason Zerrer with Providence Urgent Care in Columbia said many of his recent patients have actually had their flu shot and the flu. So why was this year so different? "It varies year to year, some years are a good match some years aren't quite as good a match," said Zerrer. Doctors said even though this year's immunizations are less effective, that chance of some protection is better than none. "We are talking about a 50 percent reduction in chance of getting it and I think if you have a 50/50 chance of something you would say those are pretty good odds," said Zerrer. However, the odds for those 65 and older are more unsettling. A nine percent effective rate means anyone feeling sick, flu shot or not, needs to head to the doctors. When ABC 17 News asked if this news should discourage people from getting the flu shot again, Zerrer said, "Not at all. Always get the flu shot, its still better than nothing." Not everyone is taking the doctors warning. "Decided not to get one for the last couple of years and haven't had a cold since," said Aslanidis. "I don't like shots and I don't like getting the flu so ill just take my chances," said Hull. According to the CDC, Missouri is still considered at elevated levels of the flu. Therefore, if people start getting a fever, cough, and body or head aches, they should not take any chances and get help. People can also stop the spread of the flu by continuously washing their hands, not touching their face, and covering coughs or sneezes.

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