A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine advisory panel on Wednesday voted to recommend that Americans 65 and older get the new, more potent flu shots because the regular shot doesn't offer enough protection.
The more powerful vaccines might also offer more or longer protection for seniors with weakened immune systems who don't respond as well to traditional shots. The choices include Fluzone High-Dose, Fluad with an immune booster and Flublok, the Associated Press reported.
The CDC usually adopts the panel's recommendations. This is the first time the federal government has backed a preferred vaccine for older adults.
The agency urges all Americans aged 6 months and older to get a flu shot every season.
Flu vaccines aren't 100% effective, and are substantially less effective in seniors. But the new shots appear to work better than the regular shot, especially in preventing hospitalizations for flu.
"These influenza vaccines are better, but are not yet the home run that we would love to have," panel member Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot, of Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tenn., said during the meeting, the AP reported.
About 80% of those on Medicare get the high-dose vaccines each year, officials said. The new vaccines cost three times more than standard flu shots, but they are covered by insurance, according to the AP.
During last winter's flu season, the vaccine was only 35% effective in adults and 44% effective in children in preventing symptoms severe enough to see a doctor, the AP reported.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on flu vaccines.
SOURCE: Associated Press