JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported this season's flu vaccine may not be as effective as they had hoped.
The H3N2 flu virus found in the vaccine has mutated to become something else. Doctor Shane Speights, Vice President of Medical Affairs at St. Bernards Hospital said the virus changed on a genetic level.
"What happened this year, was one of the strains that was picked, unfortunately, for this year changed just a little bit genetically," Speights said.
Speights said just because the vaccine doesn't completely cover this new strain, it still offers some protection.
He says when you get the flu shot, your body remembers specific strains.
If you get the flu and you've had the shot, your body will still mount a response.
"It may be a slow response and that's the reason why the vaccine, it may not offer full protection, it'll offer some protection, which is why it's so important that even if you haven't gotten yet, go get it," Speights said.
Even if you get the shot, you won't feel as bad as those who don't
If its partial coverage, you're still gonna get sick," Speights said. "Now you may not be down sick for five, seven days but you may be sick for two or three days not feeling good, aching, hurting probably more than normal."
Speights says there is a high percentage of cases seen in Arkansas hospitals involving the H3N2-like virus.
"We're looking at about 68% of the type flu influenza that's circulating around is this new genetic variant that was not completely covered by the vaccine," Speights said.
There is medication out there that helps fight against the new strain but is only effective if taken within a 48 hour time period after symptoms occur. It takes around six to nine months for a new vaccine to be created, which means the public probably will not see a new one before flu season ends.