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Researcher: Flu vaccine 62% effective in preventing virus


MARSHFIELD, WI (WTAQ) - A Marshfield Clinic researcher says this year’s flu vaccine is 62 percent effective in preventing the flu.

Doctor Edward Belongia says the percentage is about the same as in recent years, despite a large increase in flu cases this winter.

As of last week, over 1,300 Wisconsinites have been hospitalized with the flu – over three times as many as all of last winter.

The Marshfield Medical Research Foundation is among 5 institutions in the U.S. Flu Effectiveness Network, which checked over 1,100 people with acute respiratory infections between December 3rd and January 2nd.

The vaccine was found to be 55 percent effective against Influenza-“A,” and 70 percent effective against the “B” strain.

Belongia says it’s an early season snapshot – and those figures could change. He says H3N2 is the major flu strain around the country this winter – but the state has also seen Influenza-“B” cases in children.

Officials say there’s still time to be vaccinated. Diane Rodd of the Wood County Health Department said the vaccine may not prevent everybody – but it does reduce the chances of being seriously ill or hospitalized.