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Flu vaccine new and improved this year, experts say

The flu shot this year is different than it has ever been before, and health professionals hope that the new and improved version will be more effective than ever.

Posted: Oct 7, 2019 6:38 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The flu shot this year is different than it has ever been before, and health professionals hope that the new and improved version will be more effective than ever.

"It's kind of a guessing game, so at that point, it's just like I might be getting myself sick the first time for nothing," resident Eric Helebrant said.

But some trust the science amidst the uncertainty. 

"It's not 100%," said Dean Apperson, a Eugene resident and nurse practitioner. "But it can really lessen the actual damage it does to your body if you get the flu."

Jason Davis, who works for Lane County Public Health, says this year's vaccine is more all-encompassing. 

"Every single dose out there is a quadrivalent, meaning there's four different kinds or strains in that vaccine," said Davis. "There's two type As and two type Bs."

Davis says annually here in America, they anticipate 35,000 to 50,000 people will die from the flu, a number he says is in our control and preventable.

"If our flu vaccine was 10% effective, which it has never been that low, it would still be very effective," said Davis.

He says that medical professionals spend months if not longer researching and developing each year's vaccine.

This year they noticed that two type Bs were prevalent, ultimately making them want to add a fourth strain where there are traditionally only three.

In Lane County, around 35 to 40% of people get vaccinated year to year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks the flu across 10 regions in the United States.

Our region -- Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska -- has the lowest rate of people who visit the doctor for flu-related illnesses.

The CDC will be releasing their first flu report of the season on Thursday.

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