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CDC Warns Flu Shots May Not Be As Effective This Year

Steven Depolo

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that this season’s flu shots may not be as effective as last year’s due to a mutation of the H3N2 flu virus.

The H3N2 flu strain has "drifted" as doctors say, into a new subtype. So this season’s vaccinations will only be about 48 percent effective at preventing people from catching the H3N2 flu strain, according to the CDC.

Still, doctors aren’t changing their recommendation that everyone above the age of 6 months should get a flu shot. Dr. Rex Archer, Director of the Kansas City Health Department, only has one new piece of advice:

"If you get the flu shot and you’re starting to get flu symptoms, you may need to get into your doctor for antivirals," Archer said. "Particularly if you’re more prone to severe side effects from influenza."

This season’s vaccinations are still protective toward older H3 strains, some H1 strains, and influenza B. 

Cody Newill is part of KCUR's audience development team. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill or email him at cody@kcur.org.
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