The Straits Times
Published on Feb 22, 2013

Flu vaccine worked in just over half of Americans who got it


CHICAGO (REUTERS) - A United States (US) government analysis of this season's flu vaccine suggests it was effective in only 56 per cent of people who got the shot, and it completely failed to protect the elderly against an especially deadly strain circulating during flu season.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the findings underscore the need for more effective weapons in the fight against influenza, which kills between 3,000 to 50,000 people a year, depending on the severity of the flu season.

"We simply need a better vaccine against influenza, one that works better and lasts longer," CDC Director Dr Thomas Frieden said in a statement on Thursday.

Experts generally estimate the effectiveness of flu vaccines to be between 50 per cent and 70 per cent, but this vaccine appears to have fallen on the low side of that range.