The Flu Shot Flopped for Seniors

by Kimberly Hays March 2nd, 2018 | Common Conditions
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coughA study released on February 22 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that the elderly were only protected by 9% with the flu shot this year. This statistic reflects on those who are 65 and over. Seniors were hardest hit, as their immune systems are weaker than those of other age groups. This year’s strain of flu was also more intense than previous years, which makes for a harmful combination. The belief is that the vaccine failed in protecting everyone from the H3N2 strain, and this may be the reason why seniors were hit the hardest.

The H3N2 strain of flu is categorized as Influenza A, and it is the cause of 76% of all reported cases of the flu in the United States. Seasons where H3N2 influenza was prevalent have been years where the most hospitalizations and deaths have occurred. As of the early part of January, cases of influenza were still on the rise. It is more severe in some areas of the country than others, and it is nearing its peak for the season. Some cities are experiencing epidemic levels of the flu. One such city, Boston, declared on January 9, 2013, a public health emergency due an H3N2 epidemic.

Statistics for other age groups did fare better than for those over 65 years. They show that for children six months to 17 years old, the vaccine was 58% effective against the flu. For those 18 to 49 years old, it was 46% effective, and 50% effective for those 50 to 64 years old.

They are working to improve the effectiveness of the flu vaccine and hope to be able to better protect the public in the coming years with vaccines that offer a higher percentage of protection. The flu vaccine is still our best defense at this time, as it also lessens the severity if you get the flu.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.