A new report performed by health officials in the US might indicate that the flu vaccine is not always effective. After surveying five states from around the country, they discovered that the vaccine didn’t have the expected effect in patients aged 65 or older.
- The flu vaccine has a smaller efficacy in people older than 65.
- This led to a higher number of people ending up in hospital with influenza.
- Scientists are looking for ways to increase the effectiveness of the vaccine.
The surveys looked at the effect of vaccines which fought against the most dominant strain of flu among people, namely Type A H3N2. Results showed that this flu vaccine protected people against the disease only in 43 percent of cases. This is a lower level of protection that the average for the last 10 years, which was of 47 percent.
Montana was one of the surveyed states where the flu vaccine became less effective. The Health Department of Flathead County revealed that they had more cases of hospitalization due to influenza than in previous years.
In 2016-2017, the county registered 1,044 flu cases, much higher than in 2015-2016, when the number of flu cases was only 596. The situation was the same all across the state, where the hospitalization rate was of 433 per 4,734 flu cases in 2015-2016, compared to 813 per 7,861 flu cases in 2016-2017.
This led to many people wondering if it is really worth taking the flu vaccine. However, experts advise everybody not to neglect it. They discovered that the effectiveness of the vaccine is reduced in older people, but it still works perfectly in children in young people.
Therefore, at least youngsters should take the shot. This is important, since older people are generally likely to get the flu from their grandchildren. At the moment, scientists are looking for ways to increase the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, but they are not sure they can implement these changes before the flu season starts again.
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