BALTIMORE (WJZ) — While temperatures reached the 60’s in Baltimore on Friday, it’s still the dead of winter, which can only mean one thing. Flu season.

Although it is the prime time for the flu to be going around, doctors say that the flu vaccine has been more effective this year then it has been in the past.

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“Last year you had a much more virulent strain, you had H3N2,” Michael Zollicoffer, a Pediatrician at the Sinai Hospital, said. “This year you got more H1N1, so just the virulence is down, so it’s a more milder disease.”

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that the flu vaccine has reduced the risk of flu-related doctors visits by nearly 50 percent.

For children, the vaccine has reduced the risk by nearly 61 percent.

Crystal Martin and her son, Dominic, say that they get the flu vaccine every year.

“He’s in school with kids all day,” she said. “So I just feel better him having it.”

While the flu has been milder, and the vaccine more effective, the CDC says that flu cases have been picking up in the last month.

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So far, between 155,000 and 186,000 people have been hospitalized.

There have also been 10-16 thousand deaths, including more than 30 children.

“I get a flu shot every year,” Steve Forstenzer said.

For Forstenzer, the vaccine has done him well over the years.

“I haven’t gotten the flu in several years and I’ve taken the shot as long as I can remember.”

While health officials are praising what seems to be a more effective flu vaccine this season, they say that cases are still on the rise and that it’s never too late to get vaccinated.

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