CDC: This Year's Flu Vaccine Doing Poor Job Of Preventing Influenza

"Hospitalization rates are significantly higher than what we've seen for this time of year since our current tracking system began nearly a decade ago", Schuchat added.

"I thought I was going to die, I really did", said Ben Bland, a 39-year-old event planner in Kansas City, Missouri, who was hospitalized this week with pneumonia on top of flu. Making it worse, this year's flu vaccine is estimated to be only 25 per cent effective against that type.

"It is not too late to receive protection from the flu, and it is important to do it now, since it takes up to two weeks after receiving the vaccine to reach full effectiveness", Bradley said in the press release.

"It's still prudent to get the vaccine because the severity of your illness will be reduced", Glatter said.

The CDC said it hopes to develop a better flu shot that covers more strains and offers more protection.

11Alive's Christie Etheridge visited A.G. Rhodes nursing home, the oldest one in Atlanta, to find out what they're doing to keep the most vulnerable potential flu patients safe.

Children under 2 receive Prevnar as part of their regular vaccination schedule, something that started back in 2000. "Every flu season is different, but every flu season is bad".

There had been concerns that the vaccine would be even more dismal this year after Australia reported a 10 percent effectiveness rate against H3N2 and Canada posted a 17 percent effectiveness rate.

This nasty flu season, which has been worsening for months, may finally be leveling off.

Young children, the elderly and people with certain medical conditions are more at risk of developing serious complications from the flu and are encouraged to get a vaccine.

Still, Schuchat noted that levels of flu-related illness across the nation are reaching peaks observed during the H1N1 pandemic season in 2009, though this year's flu is not pandemic.

This year, middle-aged people are being stricken at almost twice the rate seen in 2014-2015, although health officials aren't sure why. Not to say that our hospitals aren't hit pretty hard ... That's well above this season's average of about 20%, and reflects what the CDC says is an increasing proportion of influenza B and H1N1 viruses being detected nationally.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness, spread by a virus.

There have been record-breaking numbers this season in Oklahoma with 3,440 flu-associated hospitalizations, and 153 deaths. The CDC says that 7.7 percent of patient visits were related to flu-like illness during the week ending February 3, up from 7.2 percent of visits the previous week.

  • Joanne Flowers