Flu vaccine offered poor protection for seniors this year, CDC says

Share this article:

This season's influenza vaccine was largely ineffective for seniors, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers released Thursday.

The flu vaccine was effective for only 9% of those 65 and older, as measured by a survey of nearly 2,700 adults and children undertaken between Dec. 3 and Jan. 19. This means the vaccine prevented a “statistically insignificant” number of seniors from needing outpatient medical attention for the flu, according to the CDC. Overall, the shot was 56% effective for all age groups over six months old.

Seniors generally are more severely affected by the flu and often are less responsive to vaccines than younger people. However, the flu-related death rate for seniors reached extremely high levels this year. The vaccine may have been ineffective because seniors did not respond to its influenza A (H3N2) component, the CDC stated. The vaccine was 67% effective in protecting seniors against influenza B.

The findings are interim, and the CDC plans further research to see if chronic medical conditions or other factors played a part in the vaccine's ineffectiveness among seniors. The flu shot's effectiveness has varied from year to year, so these findings should not be seen as discrediting the need for the vaccine, CDC officials stressed.

Share this article:

More in News

Nursing home resident dies after intoxicated son smothers him

A terminally ill nursing home resident died after his intoxicated son tries to suffocate him, local police say. Roy Curtis, 86, reportedly died hours after his son was arrested.

Medicare rates could be adjusted for start and end of hospice care ...

Medicare payments could be adjusted to reflect how hospice services tend to be more intensive at the beginning and end, according to findings recently published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Information Products & Data Analytics.

Medicare should pay for skilled nursing services without a qualifying hospital stay, experts tell Senators

Medicare should pay for skilled nursing services without ...

The time has come to eliminate hospital stay requirements for beneficiaries to qualify for Medicare coverage of skilled nursing services, experts told a Senate committee Wednesday.