A government report says vaccinations were less effective than usual, and significantly less among the elderly.
This year’s flu vaccine only protected 47 percent of those who got it against one strain of influenza, according to a report published by The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Against a second strain, it worked 67 percent of the time – so the average was about 56 percent effective.
However, among seniors, the effectiveness level dropped to just nine percent. A flu expert from the CDC told Reuters, “Part of it is they are elderly and they respond less vigorously to vaccines. But it appears that some of the people, at least, developed a less robust response to this particular antigen. Why that is, I don’t think we know yet.”
Regardless, the CDC still recommends people get flu shots. They note “how well flu vaccines work will continue to vary each year, depending especially on the match between influenza viruses used to make vaccine and the influenza viruses that are spreading and causing illness in the community as well as the characteristics of the person being vaccinated.”
Antiviral medication (when prescribed) and good hygiene – taking the time to wash your hands thoroughly, and covering your cough – also help deter the flu. We’ve got more tips in the links below, including foods that help prevent infection and where to get a shot cheap or free.