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December 08, 2017 06:14 PM

Flu Vaccine: Is It Effective?

Sioux Falls, SD

While you may have received a flu shot this year you may still wind up with the flu.  This year's vaccine is expected to be only about 10 percent effective, according to the CDC.

 Flu activity in South Dakota has been increasing since the start of November, and is now higher than usual for this time of year. 

89-year-old Richard Rausis says he's been receiving his flu shot since it was available and hasn't had the flu for 50 years. 

"It's been proven that the flu shot, if you get it, well you can't get it from the flu shot because the flu bug is dead. A lot of people think you can, but you don't," Richard Rausis said. 

Because he is over the age of 80, Rausis gets a booster in his flu shot.

"So that might protect me more than just the 10 percent. I'm just wondering why it has only been 10 percent. Hasn't anybody discovered what went wrong with the formula?" Rausis said. 

That may be the question that many people are wondering. 

"Each year, I mean it's a risk with what strain they choose. Researchers do the best that they can to figure out which one will be circulating," Dr. Kayla Norenberg with Sanford Health said. 

So how do researchers already know this year's flu vaccine is ineffective?

"We have the advantage of the flu season already happening in the southern hemisphere, or just getting over. So, a lot of times researchers can look at how the influenza season affected that hemisphere," Norenberg said. 

This year's most commonly seen strain is influenza A H3N2, which the CDC says the vaccine doesn't work as well for in general. 

Although some studies have found the flu vaccine to be ineffective this season, doctors are still urging people to come in and get vaccinated.

"Just because that can protect yourself if you do get it from serious complications, which can be deadly. And then also protect those around you," Norenberg said. 

Rausis says even after the news of the ineffectiveness of the vaccine, getting vaccinated is a priority for him. 

"I don't understand people who don't get it, and don't get their kids, you know they don't believe in it but it's been proven. So, as far as I'm concerned it's the thing to do," Rausis said. 

If you haven't received your vaccination, it's not too late! The CDC says you should get vaccinated as long as the virus is circulating...  Which may be January or later. 

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