Flu vaccine important at any age

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November 19, 2018 - 10:42 AM

Dear Dr.  Roach: How effective is the flu vaccine for seniors 65 and over? — L.F.G.

Answer: Not as much as we’d like it to be, but still a lot better than none.

The flu vaccine is created every year based on the best available knowledge of circulating strains, and each year is a little different. The vaccine for 2017-2018 was estimated to be about 40 percent effective, meaning people who got the vaccine were 40 percent less likely to need to see a doctor for the flu. Over 900,000 people were hospitalized for the flu, 58 percent of them over 65, and the vast majority of the 80,000 people who died from the flu last year were seniors. Most of the deaths were in people who didn’t receive the vaccine.

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