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Why you should get a flu shot

Woman getting this year's flu shot at Walgreens. Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

It’s true that this year’s flu vaccine isn’t quite as helpful as it could have been — it’s about 36% effective overall, according to new estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But it’s as high as 59% effective for children younger than 9, health officials said yesterday.

Why it matters: This is an especially deadly flu season, and it’s not over.

  • The flu has killed at least 63 kids in the U.S. since the start of this flu season, and this number is expected to rise. About three-quarters of those kids weren’t vaccinated, the CDC says.
  • "Getting the flu shot is the same kind of sensible protection as buckling up your seat belt,” HHS secretary Alex Azar said at a briefing yesterday.

Go deeper: Why this flu season is so bad.

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