The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says last year’s flu season saw the highest proportion of elderly people hospitalized since tracking began in 2005.
The number of pediatric deaths was also high.
This year, the chief of epidemiology Joe Bresee, says vaccine companies have developed a new kind of inoculant containing four types of weakened virus instead of three.
“In concept they should offer a little more broad protection against the flu,” he says.
But in practice, he says, either version should give good protection.
Oregon wasn’t as badly hit by flu as the rest of the country last year.
But Dr. Paul Cieslak of the Oregon immunization program estimates that if the new vaccine had been available, it might have reduced flu cases by five percent.