Flu Vaccine Less Effective but Still Urged for Seniors

Feb 22, 2013

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates this year’s flu vaccine was effective about fifty percent of the time. But the vaccine was much less protective for older adults.

The CDC found that vaccinations against influenza types A and B were about 56 percent effective overall. But in people aged 65 and older, the vaccines only worked 27 percent of the time. But Rhode Island Department of Health director Doctor Michael Fine says that’s no reason NOT to get vaccinated.

“Remember it’s still 27% effective. So that means one person out of five who gets the shot – a little more than one person out of five, one person out of four – is going to be protected.”

Fine says researchers aren’t completely certain why the vaccine is less protective for seniors. But he says it’s well known that older adults’ immune systems aren’t as vigorous as they used to be. And the CDC’s findings aren’t surprising.