The Union Recorder

Local News

February 21, 2013

Flu shot did poor job against worst bug in seniors

ATLANTA — For those 65 and older, this season's flu shot is only 9 percent effective against the most common and dangerous flu bug, according to a startling new government report.

Flu vaccine tends to protect younger people better than older ones and never works as well as other kinds of vaccines. But experts say the preliminary results for seniors are disappointing and highlight the need for a better vaccine.

For all age groups, the vaccine's effectiveness is moderate at 56 percent, which is nearly as well as other flu seasons, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

For those 65 and older, it is 27 percent effective against the three strains in the vaccine, the lowest in about a decade but not far below from what's expected. But the vaccine did a particularly poor job of protecting older people against the harshest flu strain, which is causing most of the illnesses this year. CDC officials say it's not clear why.

Vaccinations are now recommended for anyone over 6 months, and health officials stress that some vaccine protection is better than none at all. While it's likely that older people who were vaccinated are still getting sick, many of them may be getting less severe symptoms.

"Year in and year out, the vaccine is the best protection we have," said CDC flu expert Dr. Joseph Bresee.

To be sure, the preliminary data for seniors is less than definitive. It is based on fewer than 300 people scattered among five states.

But it will no doubt surprise many people that the effectiveness is that low, said Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota infectious disease expert who has tried to draw attention to the need for a more effective flu vaccine.

Among infectious diseases, flu is considered one of the nation's leading killers. On average, about 24,000 Americans die each flu season, according to the CDC.

Text Only
Local News
Poll
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Two women barely avoid being hit by train Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth