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Can the flu vaccine protect me if it's a poor match to the current viruses?

Antibodies made in response to vaccination with one flu virus can sometimes provide protection against different but related viruses. A less than ideal match may result in reduced vaccine effectiveness against the virus that is different from what is in the vaccine, but it can still provide some protection against influenza illness.

In addition, it's important to remember that the flu vaccine contains three viruses so that even when there is a less than ideal match or lower effectiveness against one virus, the vaccine may protect against the other viruses.

For these reasons, even during seasons when there is a less than ideal match, the CDC continues to recommend flu vaccination. This is particularly important for people at high risk for serious flu complications, and their close contacts.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.