State's first pediatric flu death reported in Essex County

Lubbock Impact offering free flu shots on Friday

The flu vaccine is doing a poor job protecting older Americans and others against the bug that's causing most illnesses.

There's only been one other time in the last decade when the flu vaccine did a worse job.

And, as Schuchat noted, the vaccine was 51 percent effective against this strain in young children. It protected an estimated 67 percent of people who got it from flu bad enough to go to the doctor.

Scientists are still trying to puzzle out why the vaccine was relatively ineffective this season.

"The fact that the vaccine doesn't work as well as we would like is clearly a contributing factor", said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University vaccine expert. The estimates were published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The strain also mutated while the vaccine itself was being developed, rendering the vaccines less effective than a typical flu vaccine. It can lessen the severity of symptoms for those who do catch H3N2, and is more effective in preventing influenza B viruses.

The free shots are being offered as part of the Tennessee Health Department's initiative "Flu Shot Friday".

The number of Minnesotans hospitalized with flu symptoms also set a record - 4,300 - the highest since the Minnesota Health Department began tracking them in 2008.

A flu pandemic, according to the CDC, involves an outbreak of a new infectious virus. "The flu vaccine is not 100 percent effective, and it is still possible to contract the flu after receiving a flu shot". The antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses in the vaccine. During each of those seasons, flu accounted for around 710,000 hospitalizations and 56,000 deaths.

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A total of 20 influenza-related deaths were reported last week in San Diego County, bringing this flu season's total fatalities in the region to 251, the county Health and Human Services Agency announced Wednesday.

Connolly said she ended up administering about 30 doses of flu vaccine, mostly to children from elementary grades to high school age.

Adding to the threat is that this year's vaccine "doesn't appear to be working as well as we would like", Frieden said.

11Alive's Christie Etheridge visited A.G. Rhodes nursing home, the oldest one in Atlanta, to find out what they're doing to keep the most vulnerable potential flu patients safe. Although H3N2 has predominated, influenza A (H1N1) and influenza B viruses have also been in circulation across the country.

Figures released Thursday suggest this year's flu vaccine has worked fairly well in children younger than 9.

Two other flu vaccines on the USA market are made without eggs.

However, the reason why the cell-based vaccine is more potent in fighting H3N2 than its egg-based counterpart remains unidentified. "Call 311 for information on how you can still get a flu shot, and contact a doctor immediately if you feel ill".

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