Influenza vaccine pushed for "cocooning" effect

Health officials are continuing to urge people to receive the flu vaccine because the "cocooning" effect may protect others who have not been vaccinated.

"The concept of 'cocooning' is useful with many vaccines, including influenza. Cocooning means that everyone in the family would be vaccinated to help prevent the disease, in this case flu, from getting into the home," Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess said, "This helps protect more vulnerable family members like parents, grandparents and immunocompromised individuals from getting sick."

According to the CDC, the influenza vaccine is 56 percent effective in children and adults but this season has only shown to be effective for nine percent of seniors 65 and older. The state of Indiana has recorded 61 flu-related deaths, with the majority in people over the age of 65.

"We know the flu vaccine will not prevent all flu and it's not perfect, but it is still the best defense we have for preventing flu," VanNess said, according to "The new information about the effectiveness of this season's flu vaccine might seem discouraging, but it's important to note that getting the flu vaccine can significantly reduce hospitalizations and deaths, even if it doesn't protect from flu in all cases. This is especially critical for those 65 and older, for whom influenza can be a very serious disease.