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Haverhill Offers Free Flu Shots After First Grader's Death

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Medical experts warn about new flu strain emerging

"It points out that we have an H3N2 vaccine problem more than we have a flu vaccine problem".

The agency did not offer additional details on the child. It protected an estimated 67 percent of people who got it from flu bad enough to go to the doctor.

Monto noted that the 25% effectiveness against H3N2 is higher than the 10% reported earlier from Australia.

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

People over the age of 65 represented the greatest number of flu hospitalizations, ranging from 87,000 to 523,000. In general, viruses in the influenza B family cause less serious illness than those in the A group. The decision is made months in advance, when it is hard to know what strains will be circulating.

Despite the poor match of the vaccine to the most common strain of flu, the CDC is still urging people who haven't gotten a flu shot to get one, because the vaccine is more effective against other types of flu.

This year's flu shot has been criticized for having a potentially lower than normal effectiveness.

"First of all we encourage all of our residents and staff to get the flu shot every year", she said.

According to the CDC, the best way for parents to protect their children is to get them vaccinated every year.

"That's higher than we typically see for H3N2", said Ed Belongia, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute in Wisconsin. The vaccine provided 59 percent protection against H3N2 in children 8 and younger. According to the CDC the benefits, on the other hand, include a substantially reduced risk of catching the flu as well as reducing the severity of the flu if you contract it, which is especially important this season given the nationwide Tamiflu shortage.

During week four in Hawaii, two clusters of influenza B were reported to the state department.

Since the beginning of flu season on October 1, the county has seen 4,810 cases. Of the children who died during those years, less than a third had been vaccinated.

Flu-related illness in Georgia has caused four deaths and led to more than 300 people being hospitalized, state health officials said. A popular second-grade teacher, Heather Holland, in the small town of Weatherford, Texas died from the flu after she put off picking up a prescription because of the medication's more than $100 co-pay.

What that number means is that if you are vaccinated and you run into a flu virus, you have a 64 percent chance of getting sick.

The CDC warns individuals that flu symptoms come on suddenly.

There are now two vaccines that are recommended for some high-risk groups as protection against all kinds of pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia. Early detection could save your child's life.

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