This season's flu vaccine is 23 percent effective – but still get it, officials say

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The current flu vaccine makes it 23 percent less likely you'll have to go to the doctor because of the virus – making it one of the less-effective formulas in the past decade.

That's according to new estimates released by the CDC, which are based on data so far this year.

The CDC began assessing flu vaccine effectiveness (often referred to as VE) in the 2004-05 winter. Since then, it's ranged from as low as 10 percent, to as high as 60 percent – making this year's one of the less potent ones.

Why?

Well, doctors and health experts sort of expected this.

The vaccine is most effective when it matches the exact strain of flu virus that's in the wild.

This year, the most prominent strain is A H3N2, which is notoriously problematic – but in addition, many of the strains have mutated, meaning it no longer matched the vaccine. That makes the vaccine less effective overall.

Even though this season's effectiveness seems low, officials still suggest you get vaccinated. It will protect against some influenza, and some protection is better than none, the CDC says.

Or, more bluntly:

Minnesota flu update

The Minnesota Department of Health released its weekly influenza update Thursday. (Click here to read it).

No child deaths were reported in the past week, which keeps the number of pediatric fatalities at four. The flu is still considered widespread in the state.

Hospitalizations for the week the report covers (Jan. 3-10) stood at 49, down from the previous week's 62. In 2012-13, 569 people were hospitalized with the flu during this same week, the highest it's been (by far) in the past six years. Here's a look at the numbers broken down by region.

There were six new school outbreaks reported this week.

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