News briefs
Published: February 21, 2013 08:03PM
Updated: February 21, 2013 08:24PM

This year’s flu shot poor at protecting people over 65

Atlanta • It turns out this year’s flu shot is doing a startlingly dismal job of protecting older people, the most vulnerable age group.

The vaccine is proving only 9 percent effective in those 65 and older against the harsh strain of the flu that is predominant this season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

Officials are baffled as to why this is so. But the findings help explain why so many older people have been hospitalized with the flu this year.

Despite the findings, the CDC stood by its recommendation that everyone over 6 months get flu shots, the elderly included, because some protection is better than none, and because those who are vaccinated and still get sick may suffer less severe symptoms.

“Year in and year out, the vaccine is the best protection we have,” said CDC flu expert Joseph Bresee.

Drew Peterson sentenced to 38 years for wife’s murder

Joliet, Ill. • Drew Peterson — the swaggering Chicago-area police officer who gained notoriety after his much-younger fourth wife vanished in 2007 — was sentenced to 38 years in prison on Thursday for murdering his third wife.

Will County Judge Edward Burmila imposed the sentence Thursday. The 59-year-old Peterson had faced a maximum 60-year prison term.

Jurors convicted Peterson in September in the 2004 death of Kathleen Savio. Neighbors found her body in a dry bathtub at her home with a gash on her head.

Peterson is also a suspect in the 2007 disappearance of his 23-year-old fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, but hasn’t been charged. Her disappearance is what led authorities to take another look at Savio’s death and reclassify it from an accident to a homicide.

Fascination nationwide with Peterson arose from speculation he sought to use his law enforcement expertise to get away with murder.

Biden on guns: We must speak ‘for those 20 beautiful children’

Danbury, Conn. • Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at a gun violence prevention conference on Thursday, exhorted his political colleagues to show the sort of courage demonstrated by the families of those killed in the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

“We have to speak for those 20 beautiful children who died 69 days ago, 12 miles from here,” said Biden, who said he met with two parents before taking the stage.

“You have a hell of a lot more courage than I do,” he said.

“What I say to my colleagues who will watch this and listen to this, I say to you, if you are concerned about your political survival, you should be concerned about the survival of our children,” he told a crowd of a few hundred at Western Connecticut State University.

There should be a political price to pay for people who refuse to act, he said, adding “There’s a moral price to be paid for inaction.”

“I can’t imagine how we will be judged as a society if we do nothing,” he said.

He ridiculed “the organized opposition” that keeps asking questions, not because they are looking for answers, but “because they’re looking for roadblocks.”

“They say it isn’t about guns,” Biden told the crowd of a few hundred. “They’re wrong. It is about guns.”