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Arizona Health Department: Flu Shots Less Effective At Protecting Seniors

Flu vaccines are never 100 percent effective, but new federal statistics show that the vaccine released last year did a particularly bad job at protecting certain age groups, including many seniors.

An official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last year’s vaccine had no discernible effect on two major age groups – 18 to 49 and 65 and up. That second one is particularly worrying.

Jessica Rigler, with the Arizona Department of Health Services said the flu tends to hit seniors harder than younger adults.

"They’re more likely to be hospitalized," Rigler said. "Their hospitalizations are more likely to last longer, and we also know that individuals who get hospitalized, that often can be a trigger for a significant decline in overall health."

Rigler still recommends seniors get immunized against the flu every year, even though it takes a while to gauge the vaccine’s effectiveness.

In her words, some protection is better than no protection.

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Stina Sieg was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2013 to 2018.