• Leaders pushing Congress to spend $1 billion on better flu vaccine

    Updated:

    A Massachusetts senator is calling on Congress to spend $1 billion for a universal flu vaccine.

    The current flu vaccine used every year is only 60 percent effective at best, health officials say.

    This year, some health officials have put the effectiveness of the vaccine to as low as 10 percent.

    [CDC officials to address flu vaccine's effectiveness]

    [FLU RESOURCE GUIDE: What you need to know about the flu season]

    [CDC: 53 children died of flu since October]

    "In an average year, (the flu) sends several hundred thousand of Americans to the hospital, and kills tens of thousands of Americans, and this year is shaping up to be the worst flu season in a decade,” said Thomas Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The flu is widespread in 49 states, including the Carolinas, where the number of flu-related deaths continue to grow.

    Currently, 95 flu deaths have been reported in North Carolina this season, while in South Carolina,  84 people have died from flu complications.

    The CDC said the number of people hospitalized this season is more than it has ever been, but there’s promising research for a better vaccine.

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