With the flu vaccine posting an estimated 36% success rate in preventing serious flu issues, Washington State Department of Health officials say people should still get the shot, and to prepare for more flu issues.

Thursday, the Department said H3N2 is the variant causing most of the issues in those 65-and older and in young infants and children. Most die not from the actual flu, but due to physical complications (especially respiratory) that are caused by the virus. It weakens the body and older people, infants, and those in poor health are far more compromised.

So far, 12 people in the Tri-Cities Mid Columbia area have died from complications brought on by the flu since December, making it the worst such season since 2015. This data is for Benton and Franklin Counties.

Besides that year, the average reported in our area was maybe 2 or 3 at most for a number of years. Spokane County reports 23 deaths, and 430 hospitalized.

Although the flu tends to go away noticeably in January most years, health officials tell people to brace for at least several more weeks of issues before it winds away for the winter.