Flu Vaccine Protected Only 56% of Americans Who Got It

| by Michael Allen

It seems as if every pharmacy in the U.S. is offering a flu vaccine shot, but is it really worth it?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today that the flu vaccine protected just 56 percent of Americans who received it and only 9% of the elderly against the most deadly strain of the virus, reports the Daily Mail.

"We simply need a better vaccine against influenza, one that works better and lasts longer," CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a statement Thursday.

The flu vaccine was more effective against influenza B, protecting 67 percent of those who were vaccinated, compared to the influenza A (H3N2) strain, which only protected 47 percent of those.

The vaccine component that is supposed to guard against  influenza A (H3N2) protected 46 percent to 58 percent of people aged 6 months to 64 years, but only 9 percent of those 65 and older.

The numbers are based on studies of 2,697 children and adults enrolled in the U.S. Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network between December 3 and January 19.

CDC experts suggested that a poor immune response to the influenza A (H3N2) component of the vaccine may help explain why the elderly were not protected, but said the study "should not discourage future vaccination by persons aged 65 years (or older), who are at greater risk for more severe cases and complications from influenza."

The CDC said that flu vaccines remain the best preventive tool available, which may not be very comforting words to nearly half the U.S. population.

"Although it's far from perfect, flu vaccination is by far the best tool we have to protect from flu," Dr. Frieden said.

Source: Daily Mail