Scientists are warning that this year’s flu vaccine may not be as effective as normal, which could lead to more severe infections than is typical.
According to CNN, a CDC advisory claimed “52% of the 85 influenza virus samples collected and analyzed from October 1 through November 22 were different than the virus strains included in this year’s vaccine.”
NBC explains that the production for flu vaccines begins around March, with vaccines typically offering protection against three or four different strains that look likely to spread later in the year.
While this year’s big virus – dubbed H3N2 – was included in the vaccine, it mutated enough for the vaccine to lose much of its effectiveness.
Forbes points out that the 2013 vaccine was thought to be a success, despite boasting an efficacy rate of only 55 percent.
It says that’s part of why the CDC is urging people to go out and get themselves a shot anyway, and that “getting the available flu vaccine may provide cross-protection, as it could still work against the less dominant strains of the flu.”
The flu is typically most dangerous for young children and the elderly. The CDC reports that the 2012-2013 flu season saw 149 children die. A total of 12,337 people were hospitalized because of influenza.