Health · June 23, 2022

The CDC panel recommends seniors get newer flu vaccines

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A federal advisory panel said Wednesday that Americans age 65 and older should get newer flu vaccines.

Regular shots, they said, don’t provide adequate protection for seniors whose weakened immune systems don’t respond well to traditional shots.

Shots include Fluzone High-Dose, Fluad with Immune Boost, or Flublok.

If the newer vaccines aren’t available, members said seniors should get regular flu shots.

Huntington, NY: Wendy Gonzalez, RN, prepares for a flu shot at Huntington Village Pediatrics on December 8, 2021 in Huntington, New York.

Huntington, NY: Wendy Gonzalez, RN, prepares for a flu shot at Huntington Village Pediatrics on December 8, 2021 in Huntington, New York.
(Photo by Steve Post/Newsday RM via Getty Images)

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

The panel’s recommendations are normally endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but this would be the first time the government has frontloaded a flu shot for this age group.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, left, gets a flu shot from Cenetra Pickens, a registered nurse at Kaiser Permanente, Thursday, October 15, 2020, at the Capitol in Olympia, Washington.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, left, gets a flu shot from Cenetra Pickens, a registered nurse at Kaiser Permanente, Thursday, October 15, 2020, at the Capitol in Olympia, Washington.
(AP Photo / Ted S. Warren)

CDC officials reported last winter’s flu vaccine was only 35% effective at preventing flu symptoms severe enough to require medical attention.

While influenza viruses are detected year-round in the US. Influenza viruses are most common in autumn and winter.

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Activity often begins to increase in October.

The agency said everyone six months and older should get an annual flu vaccine.

FILE - In this file photo dated Thursday, January 23, 2020, a patient in Mesquite, Texas, receives a flu vaccine.

FILE – In this file photo dated Thursday, January 23, 2020, a patient in Mesquite, Texas, receives a flu vaccine.
(AP Photo/LM Otero, file)

People who are 65 years and older are at higher risk of developing flu complications.

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It is estimated that between 70% and 85% of seasonal flu deaths in recent years have occurred in those over 65 years of age.

Between 50% and 70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred in people in this age group.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.