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This kind of virus tends to cause more suffering and have been responsible for the worst recent flu seasons.

While the vaccine was more effective against influenza B viruses (42 percent protection) and H1N1 viruses (67 percent protection), that is cold comfort given that those viruses have been much more minor players this flu season, at least to date. But they are preventing just 25% of illnesses caused by a type of influenza A called H3N2.

"Our findings provide new targets for developing effective medicines to treat the flu in children", says Coates.

The CDC says that flu kills from 12,000 to 59,000 people every year. But experts have wondered whether low vaccine effectiveness is another reason for the surprisingly severe season hitting the United States this winter. The report is based on data from 4,562 patients, including some from MI.

As of February 3, the CDC's surveillance report noted that 48 states continued to experience widespread flu activity.

More: Is Tamiflu the answer for your flu? Canadian researchers estimated a 17% effectiveness rate.

Based on these numbers, the answer is yes.

There was statistically significant protection against "medically attenuated" influenza among children ages 6 months to 8 years, and among adults 18-49 (VE=33%, 95% CI 16%-47%), but no statistically significant protection among other age groups.

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The FDA may pick a good match, but the influenza virus often mutates, sometimes so much that the vaccine elicits immune responses that do not recognize it and therefore struggle to fight it.

But she said it's still not too late to get a flu vaccination if you haven't gotten one this season.

The second group of people are the smart ones; they understand the benefits of the vaccination and take advantage of the many clinics and pharmacies that administer free flu shots throughout the season.

Compared to what's been reported elsewhere, the number of flu cases at Samaritan Medical Center hasn't been alarming, said spokeswoman Krista A. Kittle.

The Douglas County Coroner's Office says Tuscola woman Chantelle Clark, 24, died from an unidentified flu strain and pneumonia.

It's not clear why the H3N2 component of the vaccine works so poorly.

They emphasized that there is no "definitive evidence" of antigenic drift of viruses circulating this season compared with those included in the vaccine.