This Year's Flu Vaccine Missing the Mark

Only 40% effective as unexpected virus strains hit the public
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2008 6:45 AM CST
Walter Gerhard, M.D., a professor in the immunololgy program at Wistar Institute, is in the research stage of a longer lasting flu vaccine.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Flu season peaks in early February and experts say this could be a very bad year. Health officials say that is partly because this year's flu vaccines aren't effective enough, the AP reports. "Every area of the country is experiencing lots of flu right now," said a doctor from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Every year experts try to predict which strains of flu will circulate and even in a good year, the flu vaccine concocted protects against only 70-90% of the bugs. But this winter, the rise of some unexpected strains means that the jab fend offs just 40% of the flu viruses around—and the CDC says the number of drug-resistant strains is growing.