Navigation Links
Flu Vaccine Fell Short for Seniors This Season: CDC

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The flu vaccine has fallen markedly short of expectations for older Americans this winter, offering this vulnerable population protection against the most virulent strain of flu virus just 9 percent of the time, U.S. health officials reported Thursday.

Even among the general population, the vaccine's effectiveness was just 56 percent, which is considered slightly below average, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Complicating matters, the 2012-13 season has turned out to be one of the more severe flu seasons in recent years because of the presence of the H3N2 virus -- a strain associated with severe bouts of influenza.

"This was really a worse-than-average flu season," said CDC spokesman Tom Skinner. "It hit the elderly particularly hard. We saw a lot of hospitalizations and, unfortunately, a lot of deaths of the elderly."

"For reasons we don't fully understand, the efficacy rate in those 65 and older against H3N2 was lower than what we would like," he said.

This makes it even more important for the elderly, even if they've been vaccinated, to seek treatment early with antiviral drugs like Tamiflu when they come down with the flu, Skinner said.

Dr. Marc Siegel, associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, agreed that it's "not an ideal vaccine, but it offers a public health advantage -- it's worth taking."

"The reason this vaccine is not that effective for the elderly is because it's hard for the elderly to mount an immune response," he added.

The vaccine is most effective against influenza B viruses, reaching a level of 67 percent protection both overall and among seniors, the CDC report showed.

"The message is we need better vaccines," Skinner said.

Skinner noted that vaccination is still the best protection against the flu, because even if you get sick the vaccine may make the illness milder.

"If people use these numbers not to get vaccinated, I think that will be a tragedy," Skinner said. "Some protection is certainly better than no protection at all."

The findings were published Feb. 22 in the CDC publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

This flu season has caused high hospitalization rates, with seniors accounting for 50 percent of all those admitted for the flu.

"This is the highest hospitalization rate [for seniors] since 2003, and may be the highest ever," Siegel said.

Also, nearly 10 percent of deaths up to Feb. 9 have been attributed to the flu or pneumonia associated with the flu. Again, the elderly were hit the hardest, Skinner said.

Sixty-four children have died from flu this season. That number is precise, because the federal government keeps track of pediatric flu deaths. No such count is kept on adults. Typically, approximately 25,000 Americans die from the flu every year, according to the CDC.

Skinner said this year's flu season started early, but seems to be winding down. "But we'll see if that trend continues," he added.

More information

For more on the flu, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Tom Skinner, spokesman, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Marc Siegel, M.D., associate professor, medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; Feb. 22, 2013, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Study Suggests Vaccine May Help Kids With Brain Cancer
2. Young girls more likely to report side effects after HPV vaccine
3. Preteens More Likely to Report HPV Vaccine Side Effects
4. Vaccine yielded encouraging long-term survival rates in certain patients with NSCLC
5. Early Study Finds Some Promise for Lung Cancer Vaccine
6. From a Failed Vaccine, New Insights Into Fighting HIV
7. From herd immunity and complacency to group panic: How vaccine scares unfold
8. Brain Tumor Vaccine Shows Promise in Early Trial
9. Army researcher develops potential vaccine carrier
10. A physicians guide for anti-vaccine parents
11. Shingles Vaccine Safe, Underutilized, Study Says
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
 Flu Vaccine Fell Short for Seniors This Season: CDC
(Date:11/24/2015)... , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... the organization will waive paid entry and parking fees at several of their ... Monument Mountain in Great Barrington in support of REI’s Black Friday #OptOutside Campaign. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, ... at a live taping of the next CURE Connections® video series ... Cancers 2015 Symposium at Georgetown University Hotel & Conference Center in Washington, D.C. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 2015 , ... With Thanksgiving right around the corner, holiday travel season is ... your family and vehicle. , According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 301 ... sharing the following safety tips from the NHTSA: , ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... Cleveland University-Kansas City (CU-KC), in Overland Park, Kansas. Benson, a fifth-trimester ... University President Carl S. Cleveland III on October 16. , “Katie is very ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... Bibliomotion is thrilled to announce the launch ... and Diversity by Nancy M. Schlichting, Chief Executive Officer of Henry Ford ... address the needs of patients and their families, shaped my desire to improve the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Avery Biomedical Devices (ABD), manufacturer of the ... appointment of Anders Jonzon , MD; Ph.D. as ... Dr. Jonzon is a Physiologist and consultant ... University, Uppsala and Children,s Hospital, Karolinska, Stockholm, ... at the Cardiovascular Institute (UCSF). His research has covered ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... BERN, Switzerland , November 24, 2015 ... Engineering Research of the University of Bern ... and Clinical Nutrition of the Bern University Hospital "Inselspital" ... collaboration to develop a novel generation artificial pancreas. Combining ... of insulin for diabetic patients with the unequalled accuracy ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO) announced ... Clinical Services, Education and Human Resources will be presenting in ... Drugs: Health Plan Strategies for a Dynamic Market" on Dec. ... , a consultant with the Cambridge Advisory Group, where she ... The webinar will discuss the rapid growth of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: