EVERETT, Wash. -

Health officials say Washington's flu season has begun and this year the dominant strain is H1N1, otherwise known as swine flu.

But there is some good news. Snohomish County health officials tell The Herald the H1N1 strain is part of the current vaccine. So unlike the swine flu epidemic in 2009, people can protect themselves this year.

The swine flu is more likely to hit young adults and children than people over 65. Since doctors are not required to report flu cases to the state, officers of the Snohomish County health district say they don't know exactly how hard flu season has hit. But at least 12 people have been hospitalized in Snohomish County with the illness.

Flu vaccines are still available around the state.