New flu injection technique found more effective for elderly

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A flu jab for the elderly may not be the best way to protect against infection. Instead, a shallow injection under the skin appears to be the way to go, according to a newly published study.

A vaccine injection under the skin using a short needle was found to increase protection against influenza by up to 7% among seniors, according to researchers study. Current methods of inoculation are reported to be up to 60% effective amongst the elderly. This new technique may work better than traditional methods because the skin contains more nerve endings that transport an inoculation through the body than do arm muscles, the usual receptor for a flu jab, investigators said.

Influenza kills approximately 36,000 people and hospitalizes 200,000 others every year, 90% of whom are elderly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers at Sanofi-Pasteur, the branch of international pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis that manufactures vaccines, conducted the study.