ATLANTA (AP) — For those 65 and older, this season's flu shot is only 9 percent effective against the most common and dangerous flu bug, according to a startling new government report.

Flu vaccine tends to protect younger people better than older ones and never works as well as other kinds of vaccines. But experts say the preliminary results for seniors are disappointing and highlight the need for a better vaccine.

For all age groups, the vaccine's effectiveness is moderate at 56 percent, which is nearly as well as other flu seasons, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

For those 65 and older, it is 27 percent effective against the three strains in the vaccine, the lowest in about a decade but not far below from what's expected. But the vaccine did a particularly poor job of protecting older people against the harshest flu strain, which is causing most of the illnesses this year. CDC officials say it's not clear why.

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