Last year's flu vaccine didn't work very well. This year's version should do a much better job protecting people against the flu, federal health officials said Thursday.

An analysis of the most common strains of flu virus that are circulating in the United States and elsewhere found they match the strains included in this year's vaccine, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

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New Hampshire corrections officials are cancelling visits, classes and at least one parole board hearing at the state prison in Concord to prevent further flu contagion.

Officials took those measures Wednesday after inmates in three housing units exhibited flu symptoms. The cancellations remain in effect at least through noon on Jan. 26. At that time prison officials will determine whether the cancellations need to be extended.

Parole board hearings scheduled for Jan. 22 have been cancelled.

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New Hampshire health officials say it's not too late to get the flu vaccine.

Officials said even though the vaccine is not a perfect match for the strain of flu that's making most people sick in the United States this year, it still offers some protection against the flu and its complications.

The influenza season started much earlier this year and the strain is considered more severe.  Many worry how much of a toll this will take. In New Hampshire, at least twenty people have died from the flu already. We’ll talk with health experts about how this season compares to others and how health providers, schools, and individuals are coping. 


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State health officials are urging people to get their annual flu vaccination.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/whiskeyandtears/2212224985/">whiskey and tears</a> / flickr

This week, New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services identified the season’s first case of influenza. Beth Daly, chief of infectious disease surveillance at DHHS, is encouraging Granite Staters to get vaccinated.

"It’s not too early to be vaccinated," Daly says, "and the flu vaccine this year does contain different strains of the virus, so it’s important that people be vaccinated this year even if they were vaccinated last year as well."  

According to the Centers for Disease Control, flu season is usually at its peak by February…but not this year.

Might it have something to do with all the warm weather?

State health officials say it’s not likely.

But Doctor Jodie Dion Odom, Deputy State Epidemiologist, says it is unusual that the influenza virus this year is as mild as the winter.