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A federal advisory committee said Wednesday that Americans ages 65 and older should receive new flu shots.
Regular injections, they said, do not provide enough protection for older people, whose weakened immune systems do not respond as well to traditional injections.
Injections include Fluzone High-Dose, Fluad with an immune booster, or Flublok.
If new vaccines are not available, members said older people should get regular flu shots.
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“These flu shots are better but still not the home run we would like to have,” said panelist Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot, Vanderbilt University.
The panel’s recommendations are generally supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but it would be the first time the government has stated a flu vaccine preference for this age group.
CDC officials reported that the flu vaccine last winter was only 35% effective in preventing flu symptoms severe enough to require medical attention.
While influenza viruses are detected year-round in the United States. influenza viruses are more common in fall 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 shot.
People aged 65 and over are at a higher risk of developing complications from the flu.
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It is estimated that in recent years, between 70% and 85% of seasonal influenza-related deaths have occurred in people aged 65 and over.
Between 50% and 70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations occurred in people in this age group.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.