Flu shot predicted to be less effective this year

By  | 

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (Valley News Live) Health experts are warning that this year could be a rough year for the the flu.

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention said there's already twice the amount of flu cases this year, compared to last. The best defense against it, isn't working as well.

"Every year it's different, as far as which flu strain we might end up seeing," said Dr. Joel Walz at Altru Health Systems. "High fever, body aches, chills, but it's a respiratory illness that starts with a cough."

The CDC has seen 7,000 cases this year, that double what they saw last year at this time. In addition, the flu shot is predicted to be less effective.

"The circulating flu viruses out there may not match very well with the current immunization," Walz said.

The flu shot you'll get is the same that used in Australia. There it was only 10 percent effective, and it's predicted to be similar in the states. Even so, doctors say 10 percent is better than nothing.

"It is recommended you get your flu shot starting in the fall," Walz said.

But, it's not too late. At Altru in Grand Forks, over 20,000 flu shots already given. And doctors said getting it done before the holidays would be a good idea.

"When you get together for holidays, and you're in more confined spaces and you're not outside as much it's just easier for a lot these respiratory illnesses to spread," Walz said.

Another factor, herd immunity. Experts said especially in years of low effectiveness it's important that as many people as possible get the shot.

"The more people that get immunized the better, the healthier our community tends to be," Walz said.

The flu has not had widespread outbreak in our area. So far, the CDC said it has seen widespread influenza in Georgia, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Massachusetts.