Flu Season Hitting Hard One Month Earlier Than Normal - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Flu Season Hitting Hard One Month Earlier Than Normal

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by Chris Conte           

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Health officials said flu season has hit hard and hit early, leaving sick patients wondering how they got sick even when they got the flu vaccine.

"This year everybody thinks the vaccine was a bull's eye," said Dr. William Schaffner with Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Schaffner was part of a team from the CDC that helped determine which flu shot would be distributed across the country each year. He said his team typically looks to the southern hemisphere during their winter flu season to try and predict what strains of influenza will impact the United States in the coming year.

"Last year we had the mildest season that we can remember. This year looks like a brisk influenza season. The thing that makes it distinctive is – it's early," he said.

Schaffner said the flu vaccine being given out this year covers two kinds of type A influenza and one kind of type B influenza, but around 10 percent of people getting sick nationwide have a strain of the type B influenza not covered by the vaccine.

"Influenza vaccine is a good vaccine but it's not a perfect vaccine yet," Dr. Schaffner says.

Health officials said it was not too late to get a flu shot this season if you haven't already.

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