Flu vaccine ineffective for those over 65 reports CDC
This year’s particularly nasty flu season has hit two age groups to a greater degree and others: young children and seniors. Hospitalizations and deaths have been some of the highest ever recorded for the elderly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an explanation. The agency found that only 9% of individuals age 65 and older have benefited from the flu vaccine this year. Despite that poor response rate, the CDC is still recommending that seniors receive the vaccine. The agency notes that the vaccine is effective in younger individuals—anyone over six months of age.
The statistics were presented in the CDC’s Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report released on February 21. The finding that only 9% of seniors benefited from the vaccine represents a level too low to be statistically significant; however, the CDC notes that even a small amount of protection is better than none. In addition to the foregoing, the study found that the vaccine has reduced hospitalizations and deaths among seniors. However, because of the limited protection that the vaccine may offer, the agency recommends that seniors who have been vaccinated and develop flu symptoms should seek prompt medical attention. For younger individuals, the vaccine has been found to reduce the need to see a physician for an infection by one-half to two-thirds. The latest CDC report was based on a survey of 2,697 children and adults by the U.S. Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network from December 3, 2012, through January 19, 2013.