A few months ago a report came out saying this year's flu shot would only be 10% effective. That was based on Australia's flu season that happened a few months ago.
Flu season is definitely ramping up with over a thousand ER visits in Cuyahoga County in the last couple of weeks and two confirmed deaths.
Does it mean the flu shot is worthless, or that it's too late to get one? We decided it put it to the VERIFY test.
Our source is Dr. Kristen Horansky, a pediatrician for UH Elyria and also a mother taking care of a sick child.
Little Leo is lucky, he doesn't have the flu, just one of the hundreds of other viruses floating around? Why did his mom make sure he got his flu shot last September?
"It reduces your risk of getting really sick and reduces your risk of dying because 40 thousand people die from the flu every year," Dr. Horansky told us.
But if this year's flu shot isn't 100% effective, is it still worth getting it?
"Any chance to reduce your chance of dying is worth the small pain of the injection," Dr. Horansky says.
Our second source is the Centers for Disease Control who says even if the vaccine strains aren't a perfect match, antibodies made in response to vaccination with one flu virus can sometimes provide protection against different but related flu viruses.
So you may get sick, just not as sick.
According to Dr. Horansky, so far it looks like the H3N2 strain has been causing most of the cases and most of the serious complications and death from flu. So there might not be as good of coverage for that strain of flu, but other strains might have good protection...
But is it too late to get the flu shot?
"We will be giving flu shots for the next three months, so it is definitely not too late to get the flu shot," Dr. Horansky tells us.
Bottom line, she says, "so we can't say for sure that it's only going to be 10 percent effective but what we can say for sure is it can reduce your risk of dying."
And that's VERIFIED.
While we call a lot of viruses the flu, the vaccine only protects against three or four strains of specific influenza virus. While they all have similar symptoms, influenza hits you like a truck and can lead to pneumonia or hemoraging lungs. And that's what's deadly.
Full disclosure, Dr. Horansky is the wife of our own Drew Horansky.