Flu Shots: Study Questions Effectiveness

Dr. Richard Besser on whether vulnerable patients should still get flu shots.
2:05 | 10/26/11

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Transcript for Flu Shots: Study Questions Effectiveness
-- time for flu season there's a major new study that says flu vaccines are less effective. Than previously thought there are major implications here for those more most at risk especially the elderly so how well prepared. Are we for let's -- a flu pandemic. Let's bring in our chief health and medical editor doctor Richard Foster the talk about this. You another doctor's appointment saying get your vaccine get your flu shot and now we're hearing -- -- we -- We have you know this is a big study -- it comes from a top group of the university of Minnesota. What they did was they combined all of the flu studies have been done over the past 44 years to say how -- does this vaccine work. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised because it doesn't work as well as we'd like the flu shot is only 59%. Effective in adults eighteen to 65. There that the flu mist vaccine the one we get a lot of children -- -- better. 83% effective in children seven and under but in the elderly the group of growth -- most concerned about. They clean and safe from -- the data just aren't good enough to say how it how will it even works what about -- massacre of over the age of seven so well it didn't they didn't have the data on that but you can get it up until the age 49 why isn't a vaccine or -- -- well -- couple reasons one is every season the flu strain that comes her community changes. And the flu vaccine makers have to guess before the flu season what they think that will be some usually gets well and -- it works quite well. The years not so well put. But beyond that most of our vaccines are much more effective measles is like 95%. Effective. So they need a whole new approach to developing a better flu vaccine and there working on that so do you still recommend getting the flu shot I do it and here's why each year the CDC estimates somewhere between 3000. And 49000. People -- from the flu. So while this isn't a great vaccine it's the best there is and I think everyone together. Any group in particular should be vigilant about getting -- slow definitely the elderly pregnant women young children that people with medical conditions -- at most risk. Get your flu shot hopefully in the future they'll be a better -- that would be hopeful thank you -- her.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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