Health experts: This year's flu vaccine only 10% effective


That's not a reason for Americans to skip the flu shot this year, Fauci said.

And many of those who do get it will have a shorter course of illness, he said.

"What happened is, in the development of the vaccine, as we grow it in eggs, the virus itself mutated a bit, so that there was nearly an accidental mismatch purely on the basis of the virus trying to adapt itself to growing in eggs", Dr. Anthony Fauci told WTOP.

The very young and very old are most susceptible to getting the flu. Last year, the state had 15 flu-related deaths, most among the elderly.

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The figure below shows peak flu activity for the United States by month for the 1982-1983 through 2015-2016 flu seasons.

So far, this year, the vaccine has only helped prevent the flu in 10% of people inoculated. However, while vaccinated people can still get sick, generally they get a milder and less risky form of the illness.

"The very process of how we make the vaccine creates an unanticipated, nearly accidental mismatch, which is what happened in Australia this year", Fauci said in an interview. "So we have seen some cases but ... we don't have a lot of people in hospital, for example, with flu at this point". There were 260,000 doses of vaccine ordered for the current flu season, and more can be obtained if needed.

For needle-phobes, there's a skin-deep vaccine that uses tiny needles, and a needle-free jet injector that shoots another vaccine through the skin. The two people who died were older than 65, according to a release from the health department. They're especially vulnerable to flu's risky complications because they tend to have more underlying health problems than younger people - and because standard flu shots don't work as well with age-weakened immune systems.

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FluMist, a less ouchy nasal spray vaccine, once was popular with children.

Hoyano said people should try to make the time for a shot, despite this being a busy time of year.

That's the same advice this year: Youngsters will need a shot, just like their parents.

"By getting the vaccine you're not only protecting yourself but it's that herd immunity".

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