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Doctors report this year’s flu vaccine is 60-70 percent effective

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With the flu outbreak continuing to spread, there’s new concern about how effective your flu vaccine is. Doctors say just because you’ve been vaccinated doesn’t necessarily mean you’re protected.

The current vaccine was developed to protect you from the three most common strains of influenza — with a 99 percent match for H3N2, the predominant strain this season. Still, health officials report this year’s vaccine is about 60 to 70 percent effective.

Doctors explain those odds are average for most flu seasons, but describe this year’s strain as aggressive.

“We’re hoping by the end of January we will be on the downside,” said Dr. Virginia Caine from the Marion County Public Health Department. “When you see this great number of cases and you see the frequency of it and the deaths that are related to it nationally, it implies you have a more virulent strain.”

“We called the pediatrician and they were out,” said Meredith White, who brought her 3-year-old daughter, Maggie, to get a flu shot at Visiting Nurse Service. “This was the first opportunity we had, so we made sure we got here.”

White said if anything, she wants that peace of mind — but knows rolling up that sleeve is just part of it.

“We’re going to try to stay away from big public [places like] the mall, the museum things like that for a couple of weeks,” she said.

Visiting Nurse Service will be hosting a second flu clinic Thursday, Jan. 17 from 3-7 p.m. at 4701 N. Keystone Ave. No appointments are needed. The flu shot will cost $35.

Marion County Department of Public Health will also host a free flu clinic from 1-5pm at its training center at 2012 N. Rural St.

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