What Experts Have To Say
Dr. MIchael Daignault, an emergency room physician and the chief medical advisor at Reliant Health Services, says there might be an advantage to mixing and matching mRNA vaccines, but we dont have enough data to say for certain yet.
I think the more important question is not which second booster you should get, but do you really need it at this point? he told Healthline.
Daignault recommends those who are severely immunocompromised, such as solid organ transplant patients, get a second booster of an mRNA vaccine.
He adds that people who have contracted COVID-19 and have received initial vaccine doses may not need an additional booster shot at this time.
Those who had two doses of any combination of vaccines and who have had a breakthrough COVID infection recently, likely with Omicron , do not need an additional booster, Daignault said.
The infection is the booster. This is hybrid immunity and is the strongest form of immunity, he explained.
Other experts are also questioning the need for second boosters.
The need for boosters at this point seems a little unclear, said Dr. Erika Schwartz, an author and the founder of Evolved Science.
As such, while studies are being conducted, we are best advised to take better care of ourselves, stay home if sick, sleep 8 hours a night, drink lots of water, stay physically active, and try to relax, Schwartz said.
Who Should Not Receive A Flu Shot:
Most people should be vaccinated for influenza each year, But some people should not be vaccinated, or should not receive some types of influenza vaccines, depending upon things such as their age, health and whether they have certain allergies.
Information about who cannot get a flu vaccine and who should talk to their doctor before getting a flu vaccine is available at Who Should & Who Should NOT Get Vaccinated.
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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Should I Get The Flu Vaccine If I’m Pregnant Or Breastfeeding
Years of studies and observation show that you can safely get a flu shot at any time, during any trimester, while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Babies cannot get the vaccine until six months old. Because antibodies from the vaccine pass onto a fetus in the womb and through breast milk, you protect your baby even more by getting vaccinated.
Pregnant people should not get the nasal spray form of the flu vaccine. Those with a life-threatening egg allergy should not get the flu vaccine, whether pregnant or not.
Senior Flu Shot: What You Need To Know
Each fall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges Americans to get the influenza vaccine. As the U.S. continues to see the devastating effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to get a senior flu shot. If your loved one is 65 or older, getting a flu shot is still important, even if theyve received a COVID-19 vaccine.
Older adults are at high risk for life-threatening complications from the flu, including hospitalizations and death. The CDC estimates the flu causes 140,000 to 810,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. The CDC also estimates up to 70% of flu-related hospitalizations and 85% of deaths associated with the flu occur in seniors age 65 and older.
Ensuring your senior loved one is protected against the flu can help prevent flu-related complications and hospitalizations. Learn about the different types of senior flu shots, their effectiveness, possible side effects, and how they can prevent flu-related complications.
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Can I Get The Flu Shot If I’m Pregnant
Yes, the CDC recommends receiving a flu shot during pregnancy. In fact, it is recommended that all women who are pregnant or may become pregnant during the flu season receive a flu shot during any trimester. A flu shot protects both the mother and the baby from getting the flu since the mother can pass some of the antibodies onto the baby. Any of the age-appropriate flu shots may be used. It is important that pregnant women only receive a flu shot the nasal spray flu vaccine is not recommended during pregnancy.
Senior Flu Shot Side Effects
The senior flu shot is considered safe, but it may cause mild side effects related to inflammation and the bodys immune response. During the week after getting the vaccine, seniors may experience the following symptoms:
- Soreness, tenderness, redness, or swelling at the injection site
- Headache or muscle aches
According to the CDC, you should check with the doctor before getting your loved one a senior flu shot if they have one of the following conditions or reactions:
- An allergy to any of the vaccine ingredients, other than eggs
- A serious auto-immune disorder, e.g., Guillain-Barre syndrome
- A fever
- An allergic reaction to the flu shot in the past
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What Should Seniors Know About The Inactivated Influenza Vaccine
Influenza vaccines are a safe and effective way to help people stay healthy, prevent illness and even save lives. As people age, they may be at higher risk of complications from influenza. For this reason, seniors age 65 years and older are advised to get an inactivated influenza vaccine or flu shot each year.
The inactivated influenza vaccine is provided free to seniors age 65 years and older. Contact your health care provider to get your influenza vaccine.
The inactivated influenza vaccine is safe. It contains killed influenza viruses that cannot cause influenza. Common reactions to the vaccine include redness, soreness or swelling where the vaccine was given.
Mild symptoms may occur in some people after being immunized, especially those receiving the vaccine for the first time. Symptoms can include fever, headache, aching muscles and fatigue that may last 1 to 2 days. These symptoms are less severe and last a shorter time compared to influenza infection.
What Are The Flu Vaccine Side Effects
Common flu shot reactions include redness, soreness, or swelling in the area where the shot was administered. The nasal spray could cause different side effects, such as runny nose, sore throat, or a cough. These side effects are usually mild and short-lived.
Some people may also develop a low-grade fever or body aches. Similar to the other side effects, these symptoms are usually mild and quickly go away on their own. While some of these side effects may feel flu-like, it’s important to remember that flu vaccines will not make you sick with the flu.
Allergic reactions to the flu shot are rare.
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Why Seniors Should Get Flu Shots
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There are several reasons why older adults should get flu shots. This is especially important for adults over the age of 65 because immunity to certain diseases can wear off over the passage of time. Plus, the risk of an older adult contracting not only the flu, but other serious diseases such as pneumonia increases. For a senior, these types of illnesses are not necessarily a minor setback, but could potentially become a life-threatening situation. So who could be especially at risk among senior adults?
Well, seniors who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for example, or even asthma are two groups at risk because coming down with the flu compounds these illnesses. One thing to keep in mind also for these elder adults with lung diseases is that the risk of death is higher from flu-related complications such as pneumonia. This is why flu shots and even pneumonia shots are so important.
How the flu spreads
Also as everyone who has had the flu knows, the symptoms of the flu are very severe. They include having a fever, a runny or stuffy nose, chills, a sore throat and headaches coughing as well as extreme fatigue and aching muscles. The person may also experience diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
Preventing senior flu
Getting the flu from the flu shot
To close, a senior getting a flu shot during flu season is not only good advice, but it could be an actual life saver.
People At High Risk Of Complications From The Flu
- people with health conditions, such as:
- cancer and other immune compromising conditions
- kidney disease
- neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions
- children up to 18 years of age undergoing treatment for long periods with acetylsalicylic acid
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Is There Mercury In The Flu Shot
Vials of vaccine that contain more than one dose contain thimerosal, which is a mercury-based preservative. These multi-dose vials have a preservative because every time a needle enters the vial there is a risk of introducing bacteria or fungi, which could be dangerous. Thimerosal protects the vaccines from contamination. Our bodies remove thimerosal quickly and easily, so it does not stay or build up in our system. Flu vaccines available as single-dose, pre-filled syringes and nasal spray formulations of the flu vaccine do not contain thimerosal.
Which Option Is Best For You
If youre getting the flu vaccine, you may wonder whether one option is better than others. Your doctor can point you to the one that should work best for you.
In certain years, the nasal spray hasnt been recommended due to effectiveness concerns. But both the shot and the nasal spray are recommended for the 2020 to 2021 flu season.
For the most part, the flu vaccine is safe. But you should check with your doctor before getting it if you have one the following:
- a previous bad reaction to the vaccine or its ingredients
- a fever
Its not unusual to experience mild flu-like symptoms after a vaccination. These symptoms tend to disappear after one to two days. Other common side effects of the vaccine include soreness and redness at the injection site.
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Tetanus Diphtheria And Pertussis Vaccines
Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis are serious diseases that can lead to death.
- Tetanus is caused by bacteria found in soil, dust, and manure. It enters the body through cuts in the skin.
- Diphtheria, also caused by bacteria, is a serious illness that can affect the tonsils, throat, nose, or skin. It can spread from person to person.
- Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is caused by bacteria. It is a serious illness that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing fits that make it hard to breathe. It can spread from person to person.
Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Most people get vaccinated as children, but you also need booster shots as you get older to stay best protected against these diseases. The CDC recommends that adults get a Tdap or Td booster shot every 10 years. Ask your doctor when you need your booster shot.
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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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.
Flu Vaccines 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 because of 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.
You should get your vaccine ideally 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 as 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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Is The Flu Dangerous
The symptoms of the flu could range from mild to severe. If you get the flu, you may experience a sudden fever, cough, aches, and fatigue. People who are 65 years or older, those with certain health conditions , pregnant women, and young children are considered high risk and are especially vulnerable to the flu and its complications. Every year, thousands of people die in the United States due to the flu, and even more are hospitalized. Minority populations have higher rates of flu-related hospitalizations. Non-Hispanic Black people have the highest rates of flu-related hospitalizations, followed by American Indian and Alaska Native populations and Hispanic and Latino populations. Minority populations also have lower rates of flu vaccination. Flu vaccination rates for the 2019-2020 season were estimated to be 38% for Hispanic adults and 41% for non-Hispanic Black adults, compared to 53% for non-Hispanic White adults.
When Should I Get Vaccinated
You should get a flu vaccine before flu viruses begins spreading in your community, since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu. Make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. However, getting vaccinated early is likely to be associated with reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season, particularly among older adults. Vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later. Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner, because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.
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