Flu Shots Not As Effective As Previously Thought

SPOKANE, Wash. - Flu season is here. However, a new study finds that flu shots aren't as effective as previously thought.

The University of Minnesota released the study and found the flu shot to be less than 60 percent effective in adults. That's compared to the 70-90 percent effectiveness previously reported.

"My mom made me," Nicholas Johnson said. He got the flu shot in August and so far hasn't gotten the flu yet.

"The flu shot is really the best way to protect yourself against the flu," Kim Papich from the Spokane Regional Health District said.

There are vaccines for kids and adults and also a "high dose" vaccine for those 65 and older. Papich recommends getting the shot.

"Flu takes a toll, it takes a toll emotionally and it takes a toll on employers and it takes a toll on our health care system," Papich said.

In regard to the study which found the flu shot only 59 percent effective Papich said, "What they are really saying as an outcome of this study is flu shots are effective."

The study also found that there is a general lack of evidence that flu shots protect the elderly. As for children, it did find the flu vaccine to be 83 percent effective for anyone younger than seven.

"For now what we are doing is working and we are working on making it even better," Papich said.

As for Nick Johnson, he can't afford to get sick this season so he's glad he's armed with some with protection. "It's pretty important for me not to get sick because I am a full-time student, and I have a job so that would be pretty bad to get sick for me," Johnson said.

Most Target, Walgreens and Walmart stores administer flu shots. You can also get them at the Public Health Clinic.

The Spokane Health District is sponsoring a community clinic this Saturday at the Spokane Valley YMCA from 9 - 1 p.m. At that event, flu shots for kids will be free. It will cost $10 for adults.