House Republicans announced a hearing on the seasonal flu Thursday after federal health officials acknowledged that the current vaccine is only 12 to 14 percent effective in most adults.

The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will examine the response to the flu and look at ways to strengthen the vaccine and treatments.

The panel will look at the issue in the context of overall U.S. preparedness for pandemics, an issue that has risen on Congress’s health agenda since the reemergence of Ebola last year.

“The flu is a major public health threat, killing thousands and hospitalizing tens of thousands each year,” said Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), the subpanel’s chairman, in a statement.

“How can we be better prepared? What is the process used for creating, approving, and distributing the seasonal flu vaccine? When did the federal government know that this year’s vaccine would not be a good match? … These are the kinds of questions Americans all across the country are asking.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed Thursday that this season’s flu shot offers less protection than prior vaccines.

Roughly 70 percent of flu viruses now circulating around the United States are different or have “drifted” from the virus used to create the current flu shot, the CDC said in its weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report.

The House hearing will take place on Feb. 3. No witnesses were announced on Thursday.

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