Doubts Grow Over Flu Vaccines in the Elderly

The influenza vaccine used to be strongly recommended for people over 65, but it is now losing its reputation as an effective way to ward off the virus in the elderly. A growing number of doctors say the vaccine probably does not work very well for people over 70. A recent article stated that previous studies had not measured any actual protection against the flu virus but rather a fundamental difference between the kinds of people who get vaccines and those who do not. The article found that people who were healthy and conscientious about staying well were more likely to get an annual flu shot. Studies have found that in those 60 to 69, the vaccine prevented the flu about 57 percent of the time, but in those over 70 the vaccine prevented the flu just 23 percent of the time. The influenza vaccine has never been put placebo-controlled trials, which are the best estimate of their effectiveness. Despite these new studies, the CDC still recommends the influenza vaccine for the elderly. To read the full story, click here.

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