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East Texas schools see effects of flu season

Flu Vaccine (Source: KLTV) Flu Vaccine (Source: KLTV)
EAST TEXAS (KLTV) -

Flu season is upon us and schools across East Texas are seeing its effect. 

Dr. Richard Wallace at UT Health Northeast said children are more likely to get the flu. 

"We've always considered the greatest risk being school children," he said.  

Dr. Wallace said children are more likely to get the flu because they're always close to other children. White Oak ISD closed its campuses this week due to an increase in sick students. Dr. Wallace said this is the best precautionary message for schools. 

"There would be some benefit in the kids are now separated but the risk is greater for the family because now they're all together," he said. 

We spoke with Tyler ISD and nearly 1,100 students and seventy teachers were absent. They can't confirm whether those absences are due to illness.

But this year's flu shot may not be up to the task. The vaccine is the same formula that was used during Australia's most recent flu season- which is similar to what the U.S. will face. Some medical reports suggest it might only be 10 percent effective. According to health officials, the problem is the flu virus is constantly changing. 

 "What's predominant now might not be predominant a month from now; and so what's in the vaccine versus what's the predominant strain in the community is going to really determine how effective the vaccine is," Dr. Wallace said.  

Dr. Wallace said even if the effectiveness of this year's vaccine is lower than usual, it's still the best way to fight the flu.

Related stories:

White Oak ISD schools close for remainder of week 

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