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Doctors Say Flu Shots Less Effective But Still Worth It

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, January 25, 2013

Dr. Stuart Cohen is a Professor of Infectious Diseases at UC Davis.  He says people should get a flu shot even though the immunization is less effective than in a typical year, "Normally the flu vaccine is somewhere around 70-to-75-percent effective. Because of the one strain that's now circulating that is not covered in the vaccine, the efficacy rates are estimated to be about 60 percent."

Cohen spoke on Capital Public Radio's "Insight" program Friday. He says the flu spreads most rapidly in schools and that parents could do a lot to help their communities by getting their children immunized.   

Also on the program was Sacramento County Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye.  She says five of the six flu-related fatalities were people 64 and older. 

She says she cannot confirm that people who have contracted a 24-hour illness actually had the flu at all, "Unless we get the testing, we don't know if all of those are part of the flu because as you know, there are other diseases that can cause symptoms like that -fever- and unless you do the testing you wouldn't know for sure."

The doctors say the nasal version of the vaccine is as effective as the injection and it is okay to get vaccinated even if you are not feeling well. 

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