CDC says flu vaccine more effective in children

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COLUMBIA - Amid complaints about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control said the vaccine is actually more effective than some might think. That said, it is still under 50 percent effective among adults. 

The United States vaccine's effectiveness rate is 36 percent among adults.The percentage is higher than both Canada and Australia that marked their effectiveness at around 10 percent.

However, CDC estimated the effectiveness of the vaccine to be 59 percent for children.

Younger children are more susceptible to the more severe systems of the flu virus because of their undeveloped immune systems.  Those symptoms could get as severe as pneumonia and, in very severe cases, death.

Pharmacists and pediatricians in Columbia say the large difference in the effectiveness of the vaccine could come from the difference in strands of the virus as well as children's immune system.

A representative from the Department of Health and Senior Services says because the effectiveness estimates are averages for large populations of people, it is important to understand that everyone's bodies and immune systems will react differently.

"Some people will react better and some people will react worst to the same flu virus and it really has to do with their individual immune systems, underlying health conditions and sometimes just bad luck for that particular infection," Rachel Han, Chief of the Bureau of Communicable Disease and Prevention, said. 

There are several weeks until flu season will officially be over and the Department of Health and Senior Services says it's not too late to get vaccinated.

"Even though the effectiveness estimate of 36 percent for influenza overall might seem low, that's better than no protection at all," Hahn said.