Who Should Not Get The Vaccine
You should not get the flu vaccine if you:
- have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous flu vaccine or any part of the vaccine
- are taking medicines called combination checkpoint inhibitors, for example, ipilimumab plus nivolumab
- have severe neutropoenia, which is low levels of a type of white blood cell
- are ill with a temperature greater than 38 degrees Celsius – wait until you are well before getting the vaccine
If you have an egg allergy, talk to your GP before getting the vaccine. Most people with an egg allergy can get the flu vaccine.
New Research Comparing The New Fluzone High
Old age is no place for sissies, the film actress Bette Davis observed late in her life while lying in a hospital bed. When this years influenza season comes around, Americans over age 65 will be gently reminded of this fact as theyre urged and prodded to get their annual flu shot. And, more than two-thirds of seniors do so these days – not the 90 percent that public health experts have called for, but a lot better than the woefully low 30 percent vaccination rate in this age group just 20 years ago.
People over 65 years of age, and particularly those well beyond 65, are hit especially hard by seasonal influenza. In fact, in this age group, a case of the flu is most likely to lead to serious or life-threatening complications, especially in those with chronic pre-existing conditions, such as cardiac and pulmonary disease. In the elderly in particular, a bout of the flu also can progress to primary influenza pneumonia or secondary bacterial pneumonia.
Who Is Most At Risk
Complications from the flu can include serious conditions, like pneumonia or heart attacks and, in some cases, death. Flu causes about 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada each year.
Some people are more vulnerable to complications and hospitalization from the flu:
- babies under 6 months old are too young to get the flu shot, but they’ll get some protection if their parent got the flu shot while they were pregnant
- children under 5 years of age, because their immune systems are developing, and their airways are small and more easily blocked
- people 65 years old and older, because their immune systems are weaker and they are more likely to have an underlying condition that increases their risk
- pregnant people, because their immune system, heart and lungs change especially later in pregnancy making them more likely to get seriously ill from the flu
- people with underlying health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes
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When Should Seniors Get A Flu Shot: September October
With flu and Covid-19 going around this year, the CDC recommends that everyone should get vaccinated in September or before the end of October especially adults over age 65.
After getting the shot, it takes about 2 weeks for the protective flu antibodies to develop in the body.
So, the sooner your older adult and you get the shot, the sooner youll both have protection against the flu.
But experts agree that getting the shot at any time is still much better than not getting it at all.
Who Should Get A High
Flu vaccines for seniors are only approved for individuals over the age of 65. It is not recommended for those with a history of severe allergic reaction to the flu shot or to other vaccine ingredients. If you are concerned about which flu vaccine is right for you, speak with your primary care physician.
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How Much Does Getting A Flu Vaccine Cost
Most people can get a flu vaccine for little to no out-of-pocket cost. Medicare and most private health insurance plans will cover the cost of your flu vaccine. However, some insurance plans require that you receive your vaccine at a specific location. Check with your insurance company. If you do not have health insurance, contact your local or state health department.
Type Of Flu Vaccine For Older People
You will be offered the adjuvanted Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine . It’s also known by the brand name Fluad Tetra. This is a 1 dose vaccine.
Fluad Tetra is the recommended flu vaccine for people aged 65 and older. As we get older, our immune systems may not respond to vaccines the same way. ‘Adjuvanted’ means that the vaccine has an extra ingredient that makes it more effective for people aged 65 and older.
But, it is also safe to get the Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine. All flu vaccines offer protection against flu and reduce the impact of flu if you were to catch it.
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Considerations For Getting A Covid
Its safe for your health care provider to administer a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other vaccines. If youre 12 years of age or older, you may get the flu shot at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine. You may also get it any time before or after you receive the flu shot.
For children aged 5 to 11, the National Advisory Council on Immunization recommends a 14-day interval between a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines. This is to help better monitor for possible side effects from COVID-19 vaccines. Provinces and territories will decide on an interval for this age group as part of their vaccination programs.
Talk to a health care provider or consult your provincial or territorial public health authority for the latest guidance.
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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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How Effective Is The Seasonal Flu Shot
Influenza vaccine effectiveness can vary. The protection provided by a flu vaccine varies from season to season and depends in part on the age and health status of the person getting the vaccine and the similarity or match between the viruses in the vaccine and those in circulation. During years when the flu vaccine match is good, it is possible to measure substantial benefits from flu vaccination in terms of preventing flu illness and complications. However, the benefits of flu vaccination will still vary, depending on characteristics of the person being vaccinated , what influenza viruses are circulating that season and, potentially, which type of flu vaccine was used. For more information, see Vaccine Effectiveness How well does the Flu Vaccine Work. For information specific to this season, visit About the Current Flu Season.
The Seasonal Flu Vaccine Is Needed Every Year
Receiving an annual flu vaccination provides the best protection against flu throughout the flu season. Adults 65 years and older may want to consider getting one of the flu vaccines designed specifically for their age group, but getting any flu shot is better than not getting vaccinated at all. If you have questions about which flu vaccine is best for you, talk to your healthcare provider.
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Which Flu Vaccines Are Right For Seniors
Standard flu shot: The standard flu shot contains inactivated, or dead virus and is safe for ages 6 months and older who have not experienced contraindications to the vaccine.
Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine nasal spray: The LAIV contains live but weakened influenza virus and is sprayed into the nose. This vaccine is NOT recommended for persons over 50 years of age.
Quadrivalent flu vaccine: The quadrivalent flu vaccine was created to protect recipients against four different flu viruses: two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. For many years, flu vaccines only protected people against three strains of the flu virus, or were trivalent. When they were trivalent, the vaccines protected people against two A viruses but just one B virus. Adding protection against an additional B virus provides for even broader protection. Standard-dose quadrivalent shots are approved for people 3 years and older. However, as mentioned above, the quadrivalent nasal spray vaccine is NOT approved for people 50 and older.
High dose influenza vaccine: Seniors can choose a higher-dose vaccine that is designed specifically for people age 65 and older. Fluzone high-dose vaccines contain four times the amount of antigen found in regular flu shots. Because aging decreases the bodys ability to have a good immune response after vaccination, the additional antigen is intended to create a stronger immune response and thus better protection against the flu. Learn more here.
Flu Vaccine For Older Adults
Flu short for influenza is a virus that can cause fever, chills, sore throat, stuffy nose, headache, and muscle aches. Flu is very serious when it gets in your lungs. Older adults are at a higher risk for developing serious complications from the flu, such as pneumonia.
The flu is easy to pass from person to person. The virus also changes over time, which means you can get it again. To ensure flu vaccines remain effective, the vaccine is updated every year.
Everyone age 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccine, but the protection from a flu vaccine can lessen with time, especially in older adults. Still, you are less likely to become seriously ill or hospitalized with the flu if you get the vaccine. A flu vaccine is especially important if you have a chronic health condition such as heart disease or diabetes.
Ideally, you should get your vaccine by the end of October each year so you are protected when the flu season starts. It takes at least two weeks for the vaccine to be effective. However, if you have not received your flu vaccine by the end of October, its not too late flu season typically peaks in December or January. As long as the flu virus is spreading, getting vaccinated will help protect you.
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What Is A Pneumococcal Vaccine
A pneumococcal vaccine is an injection that can prevent pneumococcal disease. A pneumococcal disease is any illness that is caused by pneumococcal bacteria, including pneumonia. In fact, the most common cause of pneumonia is pneumococcal bacteria. This type of bacteria can also cause ear infections, sinus infections, and meningitis.
Adults age 65 or older are amongst the highest risk groups for getting pneumococcal disease.
To prevent pneumococcal disease, there are two types of pneumococcal vaccines: the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine and the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine .
What Type Of Vaccine Is Recommended For Seniors The High
Seniors need these special high-dose versions of the flu shot because their immune systems dont produce as strong an immune response after getting the regular-dose vaccine.
That reduces the regular dose vaccines effectiveness and puts them at higher risk for severe illness.
The higher dose vaccines help older bodies produce a better immune response and increases their protection against the flu.
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Why Are Immunizations Important
Immunizations are necessary to prevent the spread of contagious and sometimes deadly diseases. Older adults with medical conditions and weak immune systems are more vulnerable to infections. Vaccines help avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and high medical costs.
Many of these recommended vaccines are for new grandparents who plan to spend a lot of time around newborns. Get up to date on your vaccinations before you snuggle and kiss the new baby in your life. Make sure your whole family is up to date on their vaccines.
Being up to date on your vaccines helps you live the healthiest life possible. Your healthcare provider will recommend vaccines for you based on your age and health conditions.
Here is more information on vaccines for you and your family:
What Is The Cost Of The Flu Shot
You may have concerns about the cost of getting an annual flu vaccination. The cost varies depending on where you go and whether you have insurance. In some cases, you may be able to get the flu shot free of charge or at a low cost.
Typical prices for the adult flu vaccine range between $0 and $40 , depending on the vaccine you receive and your insurance coverage.
Ask your doctor about getting the flu shot during an office visit. Some pharmacies and hospitals in your community may provide vaccinations. You can also research flu clinics at community centers or senior centers.
Note that some of the typical providers like schools and workplaces may not offer them this year due to closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Use websites like Vaccine Finder to find locations near you that offer the flu vaccine, and contact them to compare costs.
The sooner you get a vaccination, the better. On average, it can take up to 2 weeks for your body to produce antibodies to protect against the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a flu shot by the end of October.
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Eligibility For 2022 Season Influenza Vaccines
Please note: From 24 May 2022 until 17 July 2022, the Queensland Government will be offering free influenza vaccinations to all Queenslanders over 6 months of age. After 17 July 2022, influenza vaccines will be funded under the National Immunisation Program for the following groups due to their increased risk of complications from influenza:
- all children from 6 months to less than 5 years of age
- all adults aged 65 years and older
- pregnant women
- all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
- individuals aged 6 months and older with medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications .
All other individuals 5 years or over not included in the categories above can purchase the vaccine from their doctor.
In 2022, all funded influenza vaccines available will be quadrivalent vaccines including the adjuvanted influenza vaccine for adults aged 65 years and older.
Only one government-funded influenza vaccine is available for eligible people each year, with the exception of eligible children up to 9 years of age receiving an influenza vaccine for the first time. These children require and are funded for 2 doses, 4 weeks apart.
Age restrictions apply to all vaccine brands .
Adjuvanted Inactivated Flu Vaccine
Another vaccine specifically designed for seniors is the adjuvanted, inactivated flu vaccine. An adjuvant is a substance that increases your body’s reaction to virus proteins.
Medical term: Inactivated flu shots contain dead flu viruses. The antigens in the vaccine still provoke an immune response so you build up antibodies against the flu virus. Inactivated flu vaccines are typically recommended for people who are pregnant, are over the age of 65, or who have certain medical conditions.
The substance added to the adjuvanted flu vaccine is squalene oil, also called MF59, which is found naturally in plants and animals. “This gives an extra boost to the immune response to the vaccine which will then lead to greater protection from infection,” Haynes says.
Because the adjuvanted vaccine spikes your immune response, it may also have more side effects than the standard vaccine, including irritation at the injection site, muscle aches, and headache. However, the vaccine offers great protection for seniors a 2020 study found that people over 65 who got the adjuvanted vaccine were less likely to be hospitalized for the flu, compared with those who got the standard vaccine.
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Eligibility For The Free Influenza Vaccine
The following people are eligible to receive a free seasonal influenza vaccine:
- people aged six months to less than five years
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and older
- pregnant women
- people aged 65 years and older
- people aged six months and older with medical conditions putting them at increased risk of severe influenza and its complications:
- cardiac disease
- diabetes and other metabolic disorders
- renal disease
How Are Flu Vaccines For Seniors Different
Flu vaccines for seniors are made one of two ways:
- High-Dose flu vaccines are manufactured with four times more antigens than standard quadrivalent vaccines.
- Adjuvanted flu vaccines contain an additive to fortify a standard, quadrivalent vaccine.
The CDC has not made a specific recommendation for which high-dose flu vaccine is best for seniors. A healthcare professional will be able to help you determine which is best for your needs.
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