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Over 65? You Have a Choice of Flu Vaccines.
When it comes to influenza (flu) shots, older adults have an extra option.
In addition to the regular-dose influenza vaccine, people 65 and older have the option of being vaccinated with a high-dose vaccine made to bring about a stronger immune response. This stronger formulation was developed because people’s immune systems weaken as they age, making older adults more likely to catch the flu. Aging also lowers the body’s ability to have a strong immune response after getting the flu vaccine.
The flu can be especially dangerous for older adults. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 90% of flu-related deaths and over half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people 65 years of age and older.
The stronger flu shot, called the Fluzone® High-Dose Influenza Virus Vaccine, is designed to provide better protection against the flu. More studies are being done to see if the high-dose offers more protection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommend annual flu vaccination for protection against the flu; however, at this time neither agency has voiced a preference for one vaccine over another. Your best choice? Ask your doctor which version is best for you.
If You Get the Flu
Flu shots are your best bet for good health, but they are not 100% effective. Call your doctor right away if you develop fever, chills, fatigue or other flu symptoms. He or she may prescribe an antiviral medication that can help you feel better faster and may help prevent flu-related complications. These medications work best if you start them within two days of developing symptoms.
“Fluzone High-Dose Seasonal Influenza Vaccine.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/qa_fluzone.htm.
“Fluzone.” Sanofi Pasuteur.