Peak flu season is here — CDC

Terry Vine—Getty Images

Terry Vine—Getty Images

It is the same formulation that was used during Australia's most recent flu season - which typically sets a pattern for what the USA will face - and it was only 10 percent effective there. While the circulating strains appear to be similar to those used to build the seasonal vaccine, that vaccine has historically been about 30 to 40 percent effective against the H3N2 strain, according to the CDC.

The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months and older, including pregnant women. Influenza cases peak between December and February. The shot can come with common side effects, however, including soreness, low-grade fever and muscle aches.

But Sabeti says even though the effectiveness of this year's vaccine is particularly low, it's still worthwhile to get a flu shot. Infection in equatorial Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore occurs throughout the year. Regional influenza activity has been reported in Puerto Rico and 18 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington). The quadrivalent vaccine also includes B/Phuket virus.

Dr. Deborah McMahan, Allen County health commissioner, said she is not sure how many people have received the vaccination in Allen County, though local rates typically mirror national numbers.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year.

Some health officials have already warned that this flu season could be a bad one, based on reports from the Southern Hemisphere, where the flu season recently ended for the year. In 2014-15, when more than 80 per cent of the circulating H3N2 viruses characterized differed from the vaccine virus, vaccine effectiveness was 13 per cent. Trials for a new "universal" vaccine that stimulates the immune system to boost the body's own immunity-building influenza-specific T-cells begin in Berkshire and Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom this winter.

"However imperfect, current influenza vaccines remain a valuable public health tool, and it is always better to get vaccinated than not to get vaccinated", the team wrote in the article.

Ryan Ades, a Meijer pharmacist, said that is all the more reason to get vaccinated.

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