HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) - A new study is causing some people to question the effectiveness of flu shots , but doctors are urging Americans to still get vaccinated.
The study found that an injectable flu vaccine protects adults from getting infected with the flu more than 50% of the time, but that protection was less for elderly patients and young children .
Still, Dr. Garry Bombardier of Holyoke Medical Center says that some protection is better than none at all, and that a flu shot can still have benefits even if it doesn't prevent infection from happening altogether.
"Were they ever 100% effective? I t think that they never were....There are a lot of things that can effect how well the vaccine work in any given flu season", said Dr. Bombardier.
For example, the flu shot may work better in a healthy, middle-aged adult, versus a senior on infant who need to build their immunity.
But just because the numbers aren't indicating otherwise, doesn't mean the vaccine isn't working at all.
Dr. Bombardier told 22News that even those elderly people who receive a flu vaccine and still contract the virus are more likely to quickly fight off the infection than those who are unvaccinated.
"We find few are going into the hospital, lower rate of death, lower rate of serious complications--so it does benefit."
There are other steps you can take as well to protect yourself from getting sick. Doctors say the number one way to prevent the spreading of the flu virus is simple. All you have to do is wash you hands.