Health experts stress: some protection against the flu is better than none at all!

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE)- There's worry a new study that finds the flu shot only 60% effective may cause some people to reconsider getting the shot. There's research underway to develop a more effective vaccine, but until that's available, health leaders at UofL are encouraging the public to choose a current flu vaccine that can perhaps boost their immunity.

Dr. Paul McKinney with UofL's Public Health has read the most recent study just released from the University of Minnesota. In it, the investigators compiled data from previous flu shot studies with a focus on infection rates.

"That number of around 60% has been reported before" Dr. McKinney said, "so nothing really startling, nothing brand new about it."

However, for the person hearing it the first time, Dr. McKinney believes it's important to stress that for now it is the best thing we have and that it does provide benefit.

"There's good evidence even if people do get the disease, it's modified in some ways, lower severity of infection" Dr. McKinney and that leads to a lower risk of pneumonia, hospitalizations and death.

Until a stronger, more effective vaccine is available there are current vaccine options that may boost immunity for some. Brand new last year is a high dose vaccine for those 65 and older.

"It is actually four times as strong" Walgreens pharmacist, Stephanie Arnett said.

Studies are underway to test how much it may improve immunity outcomes.

And for children that are candidates for FluMist, the live virus, Dr. McKinney suggests that's the way to go.

Studies of it do show it's more effective than the shot in younger people who've yet to develop antibodies to pre-existing strains. Children over two and healthy can get the live virus.

Whatever vaccine a person chooses, understand that no vaccine is 100% effective, but "a 60% reduction in the likelihood of getting infected is a major benefit." Dr. McKinney said.

Copyright 2011 WAVE News. All rights reserved.