A government study has revealed that the flu shot is effective for only 56 percent of patients. The vaccination, according to study, is least likely to protect the elderly against the flu.
The vaccine tested was meant to protect against influenza A and influenza B. The research revealed that the influenza B vaccination was equally effective for all age groups, but the vaccination for influenza A was only effective for patients under the age of 65.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune, most flu vaccinations are expected to be effective for 50-70 percent of patients. Overall, the combined effectiveness of the tested flu shot was only 56 percent. The data was collected between December 3 and January 19, and the numbers may change as the flu season ends.
Analysts with the CDC suggest that the elderly may have a “poor immune response” to the components of the influenza A vaccine, causing a decrease in effectiveness.
As reported by Reuters, the CDC estimates that the seasonal flu is responsible for up to 50,000 deaths each year. Despite the disappointing results, the CDC insists that vaccination is “by far the best tool” to prevent the seasonal flu.
Pharmaceutical companies are constantly improving vaccinations to make them more effective for all age groups. Newer vaccines are capable of preventing several strains of the seasonal flu, with the goal of eventually protecting against all known strains.
According to cdc.gov, there were 134.8 million doses of the flu vaccine distributed through February 15. The CDC reports that as of February 9, flu activity in the US “remained elevated.” The flu is still considered “widespread” in 31 states. This is disappointing news as this year’s flu shot has only been effective in preventing the flu in 56 percent of patients.
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