Flu shot under 50 percent effective this season in Oregon

Courtesy: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Even if you got a flu shot this year, the Oregon Health Authority says that's only likely to give you a 47 percent chance of not getting so sick with the flu you'll have to go to the hospital.

"Part of this may be because we’ve seen more illness caused by Influenza-A H3, a particular strain that often causes more severe illness and which does not appear to be as well covered by the strains that were put in the vaccine this year," said Dr. Richard Leman, OHA public health physician:

Leman says it's clear now that this flu season is hitting later than it has over the past couple of years.

The Oregon Health Authority shows flu-related emergency room visits in 2015 and 2016 were lower than so far this season.

Also, flu during the past two years peaked earlier than it has this season.

Pregnant women are among those particularly vulnerable to the flu.

"Do everything to support themselves and also a little unborn infant," said Leman. "And so that's a lot of work. Also, their immunity may be a little bit decreased, because they have this unborn infant onboard and don't want to reject that."

Health authorities say it's not too late to get a flu shot even if it's not as effective as hoped.

Leman says it's also good flu prevention to regularly wash your hands.

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