Who Should Get Vaccinated Against Influenza
Yearly influenza vaccination is recommended for people aged 6 months and over. Anyone who wants to protect themselves against influenza can talk to their immunisation provider about getting vaccinated.
The following people are more at risk of complications from influenza and are eligible for annual influenza vaccination free under the National Immunisation Program:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
- Children aged 6 months to under 5 years
- Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
- People aged 65 years or over.
- People aged 6 months or over who have medical conditions that mean they have a higher risk of getting serious disease:
- cardiac disease
- haematological disorders
- children aged six months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy.
Children under nine years receiving their influenza vaccination for the first time require two doses of vaccine, spaced by a minimum of one month.
In some states and territories, influenza vaccines may also be provided for free to other people not listed above. Speak to your immunisation provider or contact your state or territory Department of Health to find out.
People who are not eligible for a free vaccine can purchase the vaccine from their immunisation provider.
Should Seniors Get The Fluzone High
Q: I’ve recently seen ads about a high-dose flu vaccine for adults 65 and older. Should seniors opt for this instead of the regular flu shot?
A: Our medical advisers say not until more is known about it. The new shot, called Fluzone High-Dose, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in late 2009 for people age 65 and older. Compared to regular flu vaccines, it contains four times the amount of antigen, the substance in the vaccine that prompts your body to produce protective flu antibodies. Clinical trials have shown that the shot triggers higher levels of flu antibodies in older people, but it’s not yet known if that translates into fewer cases of flu. A study to investigate that question is currently underway, but the results aren’t expected until 2014 or later. What is known is that Fluzone High-Dose causes more side effects than the regular flu shot, including fever, headaches, malaise, muscle aches, and soreness at the injection site.
“The benefits of the regular flu vaccine far outweigh any risks. Thousands of people die from this disease every year,” says Marvin Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports chief medical adviser. “Don’t be one of those who says, ‘I’ll take my chances.’ Get your shot now.”
Types Of Flu Shots For People 65 And Older
People 65 years and older should get a flu shot, not a nasal spray vaccine. They can get any flu vaccine approved for use in their age group with no preference for any one vaccine over another. There are regular flu shots that are approved for use in people 65 years and older and there also are two vaccines designed specifically for this age group:
High Dose and Adjuvanted Flu Vaccine Side Effects
The high dose and adjuvanted flu vaccines may result in more of the temporary, mild side effects that can occur with standard-dose seasonal flu shots. Side effects can include pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, headache, muscle ache and malaise, and typically resolve with 1 to 3 days.
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So It Offers More Protection From The Flu
Exactly. A 2014 study published in The New England Journal of Clinical Medicine, which involved more than 30,000 adults aged 65 and older, found that participants who received the high-dose flu vaccine had 24% fewer flu illnesses compared to those who got the standard flu vaccine.
Another study, carried out during the 2013-2014 flu season and published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine in 2017, found that the high-dose flu shot was associated with a lower risk of hospital admissions compared with the regular flu shot in people age 65 and over. This was particularly true for those living in long-term care facilities.
I Am A Senior Should I Get The High
Both the high-dose and standard-dose shots are considered good flu vaccines for seniors. However, the high-dose vaccine appears to have a modest edge in preventing flu and possibly hospitalization. Because of this, a number of doctors in the Sutter Health network recommend the high-dose flu vaccine for seniors. The current high-dose vaccine contains antigens from three strains of flu virus, and has not been compared with the four-strain standard dose.
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Immunocompromised People Should Get A Fourth Shot
The CDC recommends that moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals who received a two-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccine get an additional primary vaccine dose at least 28 days after completing the second shot.
In addition to three primary doses, they should also receive a single booster shot three months after completing that third dose.
Some people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive a three-dose primary series and a booster dose because many of these individuals do not respond well to two or even three COVID-19 vaccine doses, and are thus less protected against variants such as Omicron, Moss said.
The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are preferred, Kantor said. This goes for everyone, which includes immunocompromised individuals and the general population.
What Are The Benefits Of The Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine may keep you from getting the seasonal flu. This can save you time and money . The flu vaccine can also help prevent the spread of the flu to others. And the flu vaccine can help protect the babies of women who got the vaccine while they were pregnant.
If you do get the flu, your symptoms may be milder and you may be less likely to have other health problems from the flu.
The flu shot may cause mild problems, such as soreness, redness, and swelling on the arm where you got the shot. You might also have a fever and muscle aches for a day or two after you get the vaccine.
The flu vaccine can’t cause the flu.
The risk of a serious problem from the flu vaccine is very small.
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The Latest Statistics Highlight The Importance Of Flu Prevention
The CDC classified 20172018 as a high-severity flu season with high levels of outpatient and emergency room visits for flu-like illness, as well as high hospitalization rates for the flu and widespread flu activity across the United States for an extended period. Since 2010, in the United States, the CDC estimates that the flu caused between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths each year. For the 2019-20 flu season, the overall cumulative end-of-season hospitalization rate was 66.2 per 100,000, according to the CDC.
Historically, each year the CDC has generated estimates of the number of illnesses, medical visits, hospitalizations and deaths that happen during a flu season . To produce these estimates, CDC uses a mathematical model based partly on the number of people that are hospitalized with flu in their hospitalization surveillance network.
During the 2020-2021 season, though, because we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the flu season was atypical. The low numbers of people hospitalized with influenza was too low to yield stable burden estimates. Despite that fact, flu prevention and flu vaccination is as essential as ever especially for those in high-risk groups.
Flu Season Tips And Alerts
COVERAGE UNDER MAJOR HEALTH PLANS
FLUZONE® HIGH-DOSE QUADRIVALENT is free with Medicare Part B, and it may be covered with no co-payment or deductible under Medicare Advantage and private insurance plans.
FLUZONE® QUADRIVALENT INFLUENZA VACCINE
Helps protect people as young as 6 months of age against 4 different strains of the flu contained in the vaccine.
FLUBLOK® QUADRIVALENT INFLUENZA VACCINE
Proven flu protection in adults 50+, compared to a standard-dose influenza vaccine.
What are Fluzone® Quadrivalent, Flublok® Quadrivalent, and Fluzone® High-Dose Quadrivalent?
Fluzone Quadrivalent, Flublok Quadrivalent, and Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent are vaccines indicated for immunization against disease caused by influenza A and B strains contained in the vaccine. Fluzone Quadrivalent is given to people 6 months of age and older. Flublok Quadrivalent is given to people 18 years of age and older. Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent is given to people 65 years of age and older.
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Should I Get A Flu Shot
Yes! An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself against influenza. Flu vaccines are very safe and help lower the risk of severe illness and death due to the flu. Thats why an annual flu vaccine is recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months, including pregnant people and people with weakened immune systems.
Who’s Eligible For A Flu Shot
Most people ages 6 months and older should get a flu shot, according to the CDC, including those who are pregnant, where an infection with the flu could harm their developing baby. Exceptions to this recommendation would be if you had a severe allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past, or another “contraindication” .
If you’re over age 65, your doctor might offer you a higher-dose flu vaccine to give your immune system an extra boost, and the CDC warns older adults shouldn’t get the flu vaccine too early because that may leave too much time for immunity to wane. Pregnant people, people with certain medical conditions and older adults shouldn’t take the nasal spray vaccine because it contains a live virus.
But typically, you should get whatever flu vaccine is offered and available to you, Salmon says, and the brand or type shouldn’t matter.
Additionally, you may get your flu shot with any other vaccine you’re scheduled to get, including the COVID-19 vaccine. And who knows — in the future, it’s possible we could have a combination flu/COVID-19 vaccine. In early September, COVID-19 vaccine-maker Moderna announced it was developing a vaccine that combines a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine with its experimental flu vaccine. It’s being tested and isn’t available yet, but it could be an important development in health care if it proves effective and COVID-19 becomes a seasonal virus.
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Optimal Timing For Administering Flu Vaccine To People With Ra
The American College of Rheumatology recommendations for RA state that the best time for administering vaccines is prior to starting a biologic drug or a DMARD. That said, in most circumstances once you are using a biologic drug or DMARD, you are not excluded from the beneficial effects of vaccination. There is sufficient protective effect even if it is not the full effect that can be obtained by healthy people. Some measure of prevention is better than none.
Which Influenza Vaccination Is Best For Older Adults
Looking at the list of available flu shots can be overwhelming. In looking at this years CDC table of available influenza vaccines, I counted eight options that are available for people aged 65 or older:
- 4 standard-dose quadrivalent inactivated vaccines
- 1 standard-dose quadrivalent inactivated vaccine manufactured with a newer cell culture-based technology
- 1 high-dose quadrivalent inactivated vaccine
- 1 standard-dose quadrivalent adjuvanted inactivated vaccine
- 1 quadrivalent recombinant vaccine
Only Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent and Fluad Quadrivalent carry an age indication specific to 65 years or older.
However, the CDC does not recommend any influenza vaccine over another, for adults aged 65 or older.
So if you are an older adult, or if youre trying to arrange a flu shot for an aging relative, which flu vaccine should you try to get?
My take is this: if you have a choice, go for one of the vaccines designed for older adults.
Why? Because we know that as people get older, their immune systems tend to respond less vigorously to immunization. And because research suggests that the high-dose flu shot generates higher antibody titers and has been associated with better influenza outcomes.
We do have more research and experience for Fluzone High-Dose than for Fluad, so unless you are enrolling in a clinical trial of Fluad, I would suggest going with the Fluzone High-Dose.
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Key Points To Remember
- Most people get better from the flu without problems, but the flu can be deadly. It can lead to serious health problems such as pneumonia, or it can make an existing disease worse. Every year, thousands of people end up in the hospital with other health problems from the flu.
- A flu vaccine may not always keep you from getting the seasonal flu, but it can make the symptoms milder and lower the risk of other health problems from the flu.
- A few people may not be able to get a flu vaccine. If you have a severe allergy to any part of the vaccine, have had a serious reaction to the vaccine in the past, had Guillain-Barré syndrome, or are ill, be sure to tell the person who gives the vaccine.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine. But it’s most important to get one if you’re at high risk for other health problems from the flu. Those at high risk include young children, pregnant women, older adults, and people who have chronic diseases or weak immune systems.
- If you take care of someone who is at high risk, it’s a good idea to get a flu vaccine. This can lower the chance that you could spread the flu to the person you care for.
- Flu viruses change quickly, so you need to get a flu vaccine every year.
- You can’t get the flu from a flu vaccine.
Types Of Flu Shots For Seniors
There are two types of flu vaccines that the CDC recommends for people over 65:
You can get both the high-dose and adjuvanted flu vaccines at your doctor’s office, but you can also usually find the high dose vaccine at pharmacy clinics like CVS.
There haven’t been any studies comparing the high-dose and adjuvanted flu vaccines, and the CDC doesn’t state any preference about which vaccine to use. However, some doctors may prefer the high-dose vaccine because it has been in use since 2009, while the adjuvanted vaccine came out more recently in 2015.
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Increased Interest In Vaccinations
Chager identified, through her own professional experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been increased interest in vaccines more broadly.
I’ve actually seen it with other vaccinations as well, not just influenza, she said. I’d say that maybe there is just a little bit more acceptance of the value of vaccinations.
Pharmasave conducted a survey 7,000 consumers across Ontario and Atlantic Canada, which found that 86 per cent of respondents said they plan to get a flu shot this year, up from 78 per cent last year.
I’m sure that the fall season and patients being really uneasy about getting sick during these months has a lot to do with the sentiment to get the influenza vaccination, Chager said.
In Ontario, its recommended that anyone six months and older receive the influenza vaccination but pharmacies are only able to inject in people over the age of five.
Why Was The High
People 65 and older typically have the highest rates of hospitalization and death from the flu. However, the protection provided by the standard flu shot is not as strong as in younger patients. This might be due to the fact that antibody levels are not high enough with that vaccine. Researchers are exploring a variety of ways to boost the immune response in seniors, and increasing antibody levels with a high-dose vaccine is one of them.
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Which Vaccine Is Right For You
Since 2009, a higher-dose flu vaccine called Fluzone High-Dose has been available for adults 65 and over. Like the regular-dose flu vaccine, it contains the three flu strains experts believe will be most prevalent in the upcoming flu season. But it also contains four times the usual amount of immune-stimulating antigens against the virus.
Is it worth getting the high-dose vaccine if you’re over 65? “I think it’s an area of much debate and discussion,” Dr. Choi says. While some studies have found the high-dose vaccine stimulates a higher immune system response in the lab, it’s not yet clear whether that translates into better protection against the flu in the real world.
The high-dose vaccine also comes with some downsides worth considering: more pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site, as well as bodywide side effects like muscle pain, headache, and fever. Most of these effects are mild and short-lived.
There are currently no official recommendations advising seniors to switch to the high-dose flu vaccine. Dr. Choi recommends weighing the pros and cons with your doctor to help you decide.
Reasons You Should Still Get The Flu Shot This Year
The nasal spray vaccine, which contains a live virus, is approved for people ages 2 to 49 years, according to the CDC. However, people who are pregnant, older adults and people with certain medical conditions should get the shot instead, per the CDC.
Beyond the CDC’s recommendation, leaving a window open to infection from another virus could have potentially serious consequences, especially if someone in your household is at-risk of severe disease from either virus.
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