By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – Health officials are warning that the United States could be facing a relatively severe flu season this year, in part because the flu vaccine may not be that effective.

Australia’s flu season, which precedes ours, was a bad one with higher than usual hospitalizations and deaths. Their vaccine, which has the same composition as the one we use here in the U.S., was estimated to be only about 10% effective.

Every year, scientists have to guess which influenza strains will be circulating when they make the flu vaccine and sometimes the vaccine is off the mark.

Scientists are anxious to develop a universal vaccine which could protect against all strains and would not need to be administered every year.

Until then, please continue to get your annual flu shot because some protection is better than none.

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