Flu Season In Full Force In Colorado, Children At Higher Risk After Mismatch In Vaccine

(CBS) – This year’s flu vaccine may not be very effective against a common strain of the flu that’s especially tough on children, according to a new report. So far Colorado has had more than 900 people hospitalized with the flu since September.

This year’s vaccine is only about 58 percent effective for B/Victoria, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data released Jan. 4.

“It’s not a very good match for B/Victoria,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “It’s not an awful match, but it’s not a very good match.”

Fauci said even though this year’s flu vaccine isn’t a very good match for B/Victoria, a flu shot can still save your child’s life. That’s because the shot will likely prevent infection with the other major strain of the flu that’s out there right now, called H1N1.

Vaccine mismatches, as it happened this year with B/Victoria, are not unusual. Every spring, scientists try to predict what strains will be out the following flu season, which starts in October. But to some extent, it’s a bit of a guessing game.

That’s why Fauci is spearheading an effort to develop a universal flu vaccine that would theoretically cover every strain of the flu over multiple flu seasons.

32 children in the U.S. have died from the flu so far this year, according to the CDC, with 21 of those deaths stemming from the influenza B virus.