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Health officials say the deaths of two people due to influenza are the first flu-related deaths in Oklahoma this season.

For many, the flu vaccine is covered under some form of insurance or through Medicare Part B - and often with no out-of-pocket cost.

"The number of flu cases is relatively high for this time of year, and public health officials are concerned there will be a high risk of spreading the flu during the holiday season".

The article is available online from the Vaccine journal's website.

To conduct the study, researchers applied statistical modeling with USA age-group specific estimates of flu-associated excess deaths, monthly flu vaccination coverage estimates, and summary seasonal flu vaccine effectiveness (VE) estimates.

Doctor say the best protection against the flu, is the vaccine.

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Finally, while most flu vaccines are manufactured using chicken eggs, the experts recommended that scientists explore different manufacturing strategies in order to increase the effectiveness of the vaccines.

This year's vaccine may have been mismatched for the flu strains that ended up circulating, making the vaccinations ineffective.

"Patients have the risk of getting pneumonia even from not getting the flu shot and getting actual flu", Hare said. Viruses have a tendency to mutate over time, which makes the vaccine less effective. The vaccine is made from genetically-engineered proteins.

MYTH 4: Everyone receives the same type of flu shot. The authors stated rather than focusing on short-term improvements of the common vaccine, they instead hope "to achieve the ultimate objective of a universal influenza vaccine" through using a diverse group of experts and resources. There are also immune-boosting influenza vaccines for those aged 65 and above, and preservative-free versions for pregnant women or those who are allergic to mercury.

"So, when those are very high, you know there's a good chance that the flu is high", said pediatrician Dr. Paul Remedios.

If you get sick, look out for severe aches and pains in your muscles and joints, notable fatigue and weakness, headaches and a high fever. It can cause serious complications or illness for those with chronic conditions, and healthy individuals are just as likely to catch the flu virus.


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