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Flu shot doing poor job of protecting older people

ATLANTA — It turns out this year’s flu shot is doing a startlingly dismal job of protecting older people, the most vulnerable age group.

The vaccine is proving only 9 percent effective in those 65 and older against the harsh strain of the flu that is predominant this season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

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Health officials are baffled as to why this is so. But the findings help explain why so many older people have been hospitalized with the flu this year.

Despite the findings, the CDC stood by its recommendation that everyone over 6 months old get flu shots, the elderly included, because some protection is better than none, and because those who are vaccinated and still get sick may suffer less severe symptoms.

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