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Flu shot not very effective in seniors - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Flu shot not very effective in seniors

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ATLANTA -

This year's flu shot may not be very effective at all.

The flu has killed more than 30 people in our state, and our best defense, isn't working as expected.

It's a startling new report today from the Center for Disease Control.

The 65 and older crowd have taken it the hardest this season, and new studies show a flu vaccine is only 9% effective for that age group.

"This flu season has been worse than average and particularly severe for the elderly," explained Tom Frieden, M.D., director of the CDC.

To add insult to injury, the CDC says the flu vaccine isn't quite keeping up.

If you get a flu vaccine how likely will it help you if you come in contact with the flu?

Here's the latest breakdown from the CDC.

It's only 58% effective for kids and teens

Just 46% effective for adults under 50.

50% effective for people ages 50 and 64 years old.

But for people older than 65, it's almost worthless, dropping significantly to only 9% effective.

Doctors don't know why.

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

Health officials say antiviral medications are still an important second line of defense against the flu.

The faster you catch it, the better chance you have of fighting it off.

They say it's going to take some new research and new medicine to keep the flu on the run. "We simply need a better vaccine against influenza one that works better and last longer. It's going to be hard but it's well worth the effort," said Frieden.

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