comscore CDC panel recommends seniors get souped-up flu vaccines | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

CDC panel recommends seniors get souped-up flu vaccines

  • KRISTOPHER RADDER/THE BRATTLEBORO REFORMER VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                Crager Boardman, from Brattleboro, Vt., receives a shot at a flu vaccine clinic in Brattleboro, Oct. 26. A federal advisory panel today says Americans 65 and older should get newer, souped-up flu vaccines.

    KRISTOPHER RADDER/THE BRATTLEBORO REFORMER VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Crager Boardman, from Brattleboro, Vt., receives a shot at a flu vaccine clinic in Brattleboro, Oct. 26. A federal advisory panel today says Americans 65 and older should get newer, souped-up flu vaccines.

NEW YORK >> Americans 65 and older should get newer, souped-up flu vaccines because regular shots don’t provide them enough protection, a federal advisory panel said today.

The panel unanimously recommended certain flu vaccines that might offer more or longer protection for seniors, whose weakened immune systems don’t respond as well to traditional shots.

Options include: Fluzone High-Dose, Fluad with an immune booster, or Flublok which is made with insect cells instead of chicken eggs.

The panel’s recommendations usually are adopted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and become the government’s guidance for U.S. doctors and their patients. This would be the first time the government has stated a flu vaccine preference for older adults.

U.S. officials currently say that all Americans 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season.

Flu shots tend to be less effective than other common vaccinations, but they have often been particularly disappointing in seniors. Health officials say there is persuasive research indicating some of the new shots work better in older adults, especially at preventing flu-related hospitalizations. Studies are limited, though, and there’s little research comparing the three new versions.

“These influenza vaccines are better but are not yet the home run that we would love to have,” said panel member Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot of Vanderbilt University,

The new shots have caught on. About 80% of Medicare beneficiaries get the souped-up vaccines each year, mostly the high-dose one, officials said. The new versions can cost roughly three times more than standard flu shots, but they are covered by insurance programs.

Panel members said seniors should get regular flu shots if the newer ones aren’t available.

Also today, CDC officials reported the flu vaccine didn’t work all that well this past winter, when most illness were caused by a flu strain that vaccines traditionally do a relatively poor job protecting against. The vaccine was 35% effective in preventing flu symptoms severe enough to require a doctor visit. It was about 44% effective in children, and lower in adults.

Comments (2)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up