To make things worse, the National Institutes of Health says this season's vaccine may only be 10 percent effective against the severe strain of flu.
Complications of the flu include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And Dr. William Schaffner, who is involved in the CDC's flu surveillance network in Tennessee, has noticed cases of influenza picking up "dramatically" in the last week.
The paper also noted that the flu vaccine "mismatch" seen in Australia this year could be related to the way most flu vaccines are now made: using chicken eggs to "grow" the flu virus strains.
With flu activity increasing and family and friends gathering for the holidays, now is a great time to get a flu vaccine if you haven't already been immunized.
There are many reasons to get a flu vaccine each year. More than 140 million flu shots have been given in the 2016-2017 flu season.
"The take-home message is that there's a desperate need for a more effective influenza vaccine", Dr. Meissner said.
The study points out seasonal flu causes between 300,000 and 500,000 deaths globally each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). "We know the best way to protect yourself is to get immunized".
Officials with the state Department of Health remind New Mexicans that it's not too late to be vaccinated against the flu. And although strains that circulate in the Southern Hemisphere often spread to North America and Europe, there's no guarantee it will make a repeat performance.
As of November 25, 371 people across Canada have been hospitalized due to the flu and eight have died.
CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible. "The best flu vaccine is the one that you get".
Reported cases represent only a small percentage of those in our communities who actually have the flu because many people do not seek treatment and testing.