MINNEAPOLIS -- A new study from the University of Minnesota warns that the flu vaccines we are so used to may not offer enough protection.
Michael Osterholm with the U's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy looked at more than 12,000 peer-reviewed publications, documents transcripts and notes dating back to 1936. His team of researchers found that during some flu seasons the vaccine was not as effective, especially for the elderly.
"We found that current influenza vaccine protection is substantially lower than for most routine recommended vaccines and is suboptimal," Osterholm said.
The three year study found the injectable trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine protects adults at a rate of about 59 percent and didn't offer much protection to children or seniors.
The study also found that the nasal spray live attenuated influenza vaccine offered protection 83 percent of the time for children six months to seven years old and showed little evidence of protection for seniors.
Osterholm still urges people to get the flu shot because currently it's the best defense available.
"We believe the current influenza vaccine will continue to have a role in reducing influenza morbidity until more effective interventions are available but we can no longer accept the status quo regarding vaccine research and development," he said.
Osterholm said his findings are a clear reason why there should be more investment in what he calls "game-changing vaccines" that will offer more protection. He said currently there are almost 200 trial vaccines being tested but only 13 of them in United States.
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