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flu vaccine

A sign lets customers know they can get a flu shot in a Walgreen store.
Darron Cummings / Associated Press

The flu vaccine did a poor job protecting older Americans against the illness last winter, even though the vaccine was well-matched to the flu bugs going around.

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U.S. health officials on Wednesday released new vaccine data showing it did a so-so job overall.

A sign lets customers know they can get a flu shot in a Walgreen store.
Darron Cummings / Associated Press

  

Have you got your flu shot yet?

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the overall influenza vaccine effectiveness rate is 59 percent for the current flu season.

That's according to preliminary data presented at the CDC's Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices in Atlanta.

Officials at the CDC say flu activity this season started a little bit later than usual and is expected to continue for about another month.

Although the effectiveness of yearly flu vaccines vary, the CDC recommends a yearly flu shot.  

Brenna Beech / WABE

Georgia only met half of the key indicators related to preventing, detecting, diagnosing and responding to infectious disease outbreaks, according to a new report from two health policy groups that looked at the nation's ability to respond to disease threats.

The report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the health policy group Trust for America's Health, released earlier this month, gave Georgia five points out of a possible 10 when it comes to preparedness.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Tom Frieden listens during a discussion: The Ebola Crisis in West Africa: An Update on Progress, Challenges and the Road to Recovery on Ebola in West Africa, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, on Capitol Hill
Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

Get ready, flu season is right around the corner.

That's why the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reminding Americans to get a flu shot.

“The bottom line, flu is unpredictable. But you can predict that the single best thing you can do to protect yourself is a flu vaccine,” says Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC's director.

Frieden admits last year's vaccine was not as strong as usual, performing as poorly as 13 percent for the H3N2 strain.

One way  the CDC improved the vaccine came from talks with other officials across the globe.

Danielle Homeniuk, a public health nurse at the Woodcroft Public Health Centre in Edmonton, draws influenza vaccine into a syringe during this year’s influenza immunization program.
Government of Alberta / www.flickr.com/Government of Alberta

As health officials gear up for the 2015-2016 flu season, they are taking steps to try and ensure that the new vaccines actually works.

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged that the vaccine for the 2014-15 flu season was not as effective in protecting against the predominant influenza strains as it should have been.

Health officials have already selected the viruses that will be used in the manufacturing of the upcoming vaccine.

Flu Cases Back Up In Georgia

Jan 19, 2015
Influenza vaccine and syringe
A.J. Cann / Flickr.com/ajc1

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, at least 20 Georgians have died of the flu since September, and more than 900 people in the metro Atlanta area have been put in the hospital. 

Georgia’s flu rate showed high levels of activity for four straight weeks before it fell significantly at the beginning of January, but now it’s back up again to a high intensity level. 

Officials said school holidays could have caused the temporary drop.

Flu Season Hits Georgia

Dec 18, 2014
CDC.gov

Georgia is among more than a dozen U.S. states that are experiencing widespread flu activity.

State health officials say metro Atlanta is among the areas of the state where the flu is currently spreading. Audrey Kunkes monitors flu activity for the Georgia Department of Public Health. She serves as the Influenza Surveillance Coordinator for the department.

“I would say it’s severe. We’re seeing a lot of school-aged children and those in long term care facilities coming down with influenza, and it can lead to very severe complications.”

HHS.gov

The Georgia Department of Public Health confirms the flu has claimed 31 lives this season.

  Health officials say the H1N1 strand of the flu, the same one that struck in 2009, is causing the most problems in Georgia, and nationally.

The number of flu-related deaths in Georgia has already more than tripled last season’s total amount.

The CDC wants at least 70% of the target population to be vaccinated against the flu, but only 40-45% of people are getting their shots.
Walter Shinn / U.S. Coast Guard

  The Georgia Department of Public Health confirms the state's 20th flu-related fatality of this season.

Officials at the DPH say in most fatal cases, the flu poses the biggest threat by weakening a person's immune system.

Dr. James Steinberg, professor of medicine and infectious disease specialist at the Emory University School of Medicine
Emory University

  As 2014 begins, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is high flu activity in the southeastern United States, including here in Georgia.  

State health officials have confirmed four flu-related deaths this season, as of Jan. 2, 2014.  

WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with Dr. James Steinberg, a professor of medicine and an infectious disease specialist at the Emory University School of Medicine.

doctortipster.com

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports high flu activity throughout the Southeastern United States.

"This past week was the first time we in Georgia have actually have been designated as having widespread activity all across the state," says Dr. Cherie Drenzek, an epidemiologist with the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The CDC wants at least 70% of the target population to be vaccinated against the flu, but only 40-45% of people are getting their shots.
Walter Shinn / U.S. Coast Guard

The Georgia Department of Public Health confirms two adults in metro Atlanta have died from the flu this year.

The identities haven't been released yet.

Health officials say in most fatal cases, the flu poses a threat by weakening a person's immune system.

Influenza vaccine and syringe
A.J. Cann / Flickr.com/ajc1

 The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the partial government shutdown didn’t severely hamper efforts to combat the flu.

In its first weekly report since the shutdown, which was issued Friday, the CDC says flu activity in the US was low for the week ending Oct. 12. The CDC reported 166 cases of the flu nationwide, and there were no flu-related deaths in children were reported.  

More Vaccine Options Available This Flu Season

Sep 23, 2013
Lance McCord / http://bit.ly/15IKlcv

This year, those looking to protect against flu viruses will have additional options when it comes to vaccines. For the first time, some flu vaccines will protect against four strains of the flu.

Previously vaccines only guarded against three strains: two strains of influenza A and one strain of influenza B. Now, some flu shots will provide protection from an additional strain of B. Michael Jhung is a medical officer in the influenza division of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.