Flu vaccine falls short, but local doctors say you still need it

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) This season’s flu vaccines work just 10 percent of the time according to a new study, but local doctors are urging residents to get flu shots anyway.

The findings published in The New England Journal of Medicine come from the Australian Government Department of Health, but the flu vaccine used in the Australian study are similar to those administered here.

Waco physician Dr. Tim Martindale, however, says that’s no reason to skip vaccination this year.

He says the flu shot is designed to cover multiple strains, so if a different strain hits Central Texas those who have been vaccinated will still be covered.

Kelly Crain, with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, agrees.

"It doesn’t necessarily mean flu shots won’t work here, or suggest how intense our flu season will be, but it’s a good predictor,” she said.

The most recent health district statistics for the week of Nov. 25 through Dec. 1 show a total of 303 flu cases in McLennan County.

“The numbers are at a normal steady pace to see the virus continue to increase,” Crain said.

Martindale, a primary care physician with Ascension's Providence Family Medicine Clinic, says he has seen many patients this flu season who received the vaccine, but still caught the flu.

He recommends using Tamiflu as a secondary measure for treating influenza.

“There is actually a medicine that can help with the flu called Tamiflu, but it only works if you take it in the first day or two that you’ve been sick," Martindale said.