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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.
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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.
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.
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.