According to CDC acting director Dr. Anne Schuchat, the latest influenza weekly report has revealed that 10 additional children have died from the flu this season. The CDC's midseason estimates of vaccine effectiveness against H1N1 is 67% and against B viruses 42%.
Many have decried the vaccine's production method, as they did the vaccine for in the 2012-2013 flu season that killed 170 children and was only estimated to be 39 percent effective.
Even with the tragic increase in pediatric deaths, the CDC said that there are signs that the season is finally peaking after several particularly nasty weeks.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said these new vaccines have been specifically designed for those over 65, as their immune systems respond less effectively to the generic vaccines.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this year's flu season is on pace to be the worst in at least eight years.
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Studies found many flu vaccines are not as effective because scientists grow them in chicken eggs.
Final numbers might change slightly, but the vaccine's effectiveness rate is only 36 percent. This strain of the influenza virus has been known to be the reason for higher hospitalization and death rates. Childhood deaths have reached about 170 in a season.
"Levels of influenza-like-illness across the country are now as high as we observed at the peak of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic".
In all, the 2016-17 flu season in New Mexico saw 222 deaths: 27 adult flu deaths and 195 pneumonia deaths.
People can do a number of things to protect themselves from the flu - number one is to get a vaccine.
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Two flu strains have been the main culprits this season.
Doctors say young children are at risk of serious flu complications if not recognized and treated immediately.
"Clearly we need either better vaccines or better use of current vaccines, choosing those products that might work better", he said.
Still, drugmakers are scrambling to produce a better vaccine called a "universal vaccine". "Sometimes they matter and sometimes they don't, but what seems to make the most difference is immune history". They cite factors such as age, baseline health status and that year's vaccine "match" - the similarity between the viruses used to make the vaccine and the ones that are prevalent in a certain year. Thus, for egg-based vaccines, the lower-than-desirable efficacy being observed is not likely related to the process of adapting the virus to grow well in eggs. That's because the vaccine has protective qualities irrespective of strain.
Ultimately, developing a universal influenza vaccine that provides protection against many different strains of flu from year-to-year would be ideal.
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