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Researchers work to improve flu shot effectiveness

Two-year-old Jude McGee, 26-year-old newlywed Katie McQuestion, Jianna Cabasag, a four-year-old little girl. They all died of the flu, and they’d all had ...

Two-year-old Jude McGee, 26-year-old newlywed Katie McQuestion, Jianna Cabasag, a four-year-old little girl.

They all died of the flu, and they’d all had flu shots.

There’s no question: you should get a flu shot. Last flu season, the flu killed at least 36,000 people, so this shot could literally save your life.

But, it’s far from perfect.

In September, President Trump signed an executive order – noting that the current system for making flu shots “has critical shortcomings,” the order pledges to modernize the process.

The first step: stop using eggs to make flu vaccine.

They grow the virus in the eggs, like the eggs you eat for breakfast, and then they kill the virus and put it in the vaccine. But, sometimes, the virus changes inside the egg, so it doesn’t end up matching flu that’s out there spreading among people.

That’s why some companies have figured out ways to grow the flu virus without using eggs.

Trump’s executive order is designed to encourage more of this technology. And something even bigger, something researchers have been working on for years.

A flu vaccine you would only get once in your life instead of every year.

Karen Craney is one of the first people in the world to get what’s called the universal flu shot, as part of a study at the National Institutes of Health.

The shot is prepped, and medical history is made. A universal flu shot is at least a decade away. So for now, get your regular flu shot to protect yourself and everyone around you, while we wait for something even better.

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