Friday, September 29, 2023

Which Flu Shot Is For Seniors

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Vaccines For Adults 65+

Lack of flu vaccine tailored for seniors prompts Warren County woman to search high and low for f…

Influenza can make older adults very sick. Two vaccines are approved just for seniors to give better protection against the flu. A high-dose flu vaccine is the preferred choice for adults 65 years and older. It protects against four strains of the influenza virus. If this vaccine is not available, then Fluad® is recommended. Both of these vaccines may cause more soreness, redness and swelling where the vaccine was given, lasting a few days longer than the standard vaccine. If neither of these vaccines are available, do not delay in getting vaccinated. All flu vaccines provide good protection.

Free Flu Shots Available Across Niagara

Physicians and pharmacies are receiving the flu vaccine. Contact your health care provider to get your flu shot. If you don’t have one, see a list of family physicians in Niagara who are accepting new patients.

Flu shots are available at participating pharmacies and through walk-in clinics. Check ahead for vaccine availability

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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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
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

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

Prepare For Your Appointment

Good moods may boost flu shot efficacy for seniors

If you have a fear of needles or concerns about pain associated with immunization, learn more at Commitment to Comfort.

Wear clothing that will allow easy access to the upper arm.

Bring required identification.

Arrive as close to your appointment time as you can.

Do not attend your appointment if you have symptoms of/or are diagnosed with COVID-19, are isolating or have been outside Canada in the past 14 days and are under a federal quarantine order.

Follow safety protocols in place: wash / sanitize your hands, wear a mask , keep your distance from others.

COVID-19 vaccine transportation for seniors – reach out to 211.

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How To Protect Yourself

The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine every year.

A yearly flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older without an increased risk for a serious adverse reaction. It is especially important that certain people get vaccinated either because they are at high riskof having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications.

You should receive a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible. Vaccination should continue to be offered as long as flu viruses are circulating, even in January or later. While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, during most seasons flu activity peaks in January or later. It is best to get vaccinated before flu viruses start to spread in your community since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.

For more information about seasonal flu vaccines, visit Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine.

Types Of Flu Shots For Seniors

There are two types of flu vaccines that the CDC recommends for people over 65:

  • High dose flu vaccine, also called Fluzone
  • Adjuvanted inactivated flu vaccine, known as Fluad
  • 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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    Where To Get A Flu Shot

    During flu season you can get a free flu shot from:

    • your doctor or nurse practitioner
    • participating pharmacies

    Children six moths to four years old can get their flu shot from a doctor, nurse practitioner or local public health unit. Children under five years old cannot get a flu shot at a pharmacy.

    Why Is There A Need For Flu Vaccines Designed Specifically For People 65 Years And Older

    Seniors: Did you get your flu shot?

    People 65 years and older are at increased risk of developing serious complications from flu compared with young, healthy adults. This is partly because human immune defenses become weaker with increasing age. During most seasons, people 65 years and older account for the majority of flu hospitalizations and deaths. In the United States, between about 70 percent and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths and between 50 percent and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people 65 years and older. The weakened immune system can also mean that older people dont respond as well to flu vaccination. Given the higher risk of severe flu illness and lower protective immune response after vaccination among older adults, substantial research and development have led to the production of new flu vaccines intended to provide better immunity in this age group.

    Links with this icon indicate that you are leaving the CDC website.

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    Side Effects And Risks

    It is much safer to get the flu vaccine than to get the flu. Flu vaccines are safe and well-tolerated. Side effects are usually mild and last a few days. Common side effects include pain, redness and swelling at the injection site headache, fever, muscle aches, joint pain or feeling tired. Side effects in children include irritability, drowsiness or loss of appetite.

    In rare cases, serious allergic reactions can occur. Seek medical attention if you have trouble breathing, rash or swelling of the face and throat. Allergic reactions can be treated and are usually temporary. The risk of Oculo-Respiratory Syndrome or Guillain-Barré Syndrome after flu vaccination is very low, about one case in a million flu shots.

    Iv5 Additional Vaccine Safety Considerations

    Influenza vaccine is safe and well tolerated. Contraindications, precautions, and common AEs are described in Section II. Additional information regarding egg-allergic individuals and GBS is provided below.

    Egg-allergic individuals

    After careful review of clinical and post-licensure safety data, NACI has concluded that egg-allergic individuals may be vaccinated against influenza using any appropriate product, including LAIV, without prior influenza vaccine skin test and with the full dose, irrespective of a past severe reaction to egg and without any particular consideration, including vaccination setting. The amount of trace ovalbumin allowed in influenza vaccines that are authorized for use in Canada is associated with a low risk of AE. The observation period post-vaccination is as recommended in Vaccine Safety in Part 2 of the CIG. As with all vaccine administration, vaccine providers should be prepared with the necessary equipment, knowledge, and skills to respond to a vaccine emergency at all times.

    Refer to the Statement on Seasonal Influenza Vaccine for 2018-2019 for safety data supporting this recommendation for IIV and LAIV.

    Guillain-Barré syndrome

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    How Effective Is The Flu Shot For Seniors

    The flu vaccine is not 100% effective, but its still one of the best ways to prevent the flu, according to the CDC. The regular flu vaccine seems to be less effective in seniors than it is in younger adults. However, PubMed studies have found the high-dose senior flu shot better protects older adults against the flu when compared with the standard flu vaccine.

    Getting vaccinated also seems to reduce the severity of illness for people who get sick with the flu, according to the CDC. In fact, researchers have found that flu vaccinations in recent years have reduced the need for flu-related hospitalizations among older adults by 40%.

    Ii7 Vaccine Safety And Adverse Events


    Post-marketing surveillance of influenza vaccines in Canada has shown that seasonal influenza vaccines have a safe and stable profile. In addition to routine surveillance, every year during the seasonal influenza vaccination campaigns, PHAC and the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Vaccine Vigilance Working Group of the Canadian Immunization Committee conduct weekly expedited surveillance of AEFIs for current influenza vaccines in order to identify vaccine safety signals in a timely manner. Refer to the Canadian Adverse Events Following Immunization Surveillance System web page for more information on post-marketing surveillance and AEFIs in Canada.

    All influenza vaccines currently authorized for use in Canada are considered safe for use in people with latex allergies. The multi-dose vial formulations of inactivated influenza vaccine that are authorized for use in Canada contain minute quantities of thimerosal, which is used as a preservativeFootnote 15,Footnote 16 to keep the product sterile. Large cohort studies of administrative health databases have found no association between childhood vaccination with thimerosal-containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental outcomes, including autistic-spectrum disordersFootnote 17. All single dose formulations of IIV and LAIV are thimerosal-free. Refer to Vaccine Safety in Part 2 of the CIG for additional information.

    Common adverse events

    Less common and serious or severe adverse events

    Other reported adverse events and conditions

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    Iii1 People At High Risk Of Influenza

    All pregnant women

    NACI recommends the inclusion of all pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy, among the particularly recommended recipients of IIV, due to the risk of influenza-associated morbidity in pregnant womenFootnote 25,Footnote 26,Footnote 27,Footnote 28,Footnote 29, evidence of adverse neonatal outcomes associated with maternal respiratory hospitalization or influenza during pregnancyFootnote 30,Footnote 31,Footnote 32,Footnote 33, evidence that vaccination of pregnant women protects their newborns from influenza and influenza-related hospitalizationFootnote 34,Footnote 35,Footnote 36,Footnote 37, and evidence that infants born during influenza season to vaccinated women are less likely to be premature, small for gestational age, and of low birth weight than if born to women that had not received an influenza vaccineFootnote 38,Footnote 39,Footnote 40,Footnote 41. The risk of influenza-related hospitalization increases with length of gestation .

    Refer to the Statement on Seasonal Influenza Vaccine for 2011-2012 and the Statement on Seasonal Influenza Vaccine for 2012-2013 for further details on influenza vaccination during pregnancy.

    Adults and children with chronic health conditions

    Neurologic or neurodevelopment conditions

    People of any age who are residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities

    Adults 65 years of age and older

    All children 6-59 months of age

    Indigenous peoples

    The Best Flu Vaccine If Youre Scared Of Needles

    While most people use the terms flu vaccine and flu shot interchangeably, not all flu vaccines use a needle to deliver the ingredients.

    FluMist Quadrivalent is a nasal spray vaccine. However, its not the right choice for some people. This vaccine is only FDA-approved for people between ages 2 and 49. FluMist Quadrivalent is also a live attenuated vaccine, meaning it contains weakened versions of the flu viruses instead of inactivated viruses. People who are pregnant and those with certain health problems such as a weakened immune system shouldnt receive it.

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    Can You Get The Flu From The Flu Shot

    It is a very common misconception that the flu vaccine can give you the flu. This is just not the case. The virus that is in the vaccine is killed, so people cannot get the flu directly from the flu shot. However, it does take approximately two weeks for your immunity to build up from the shot, so there is a chance of getting the flu right after receiving the shot if you are exposed to the virus soon after. Sometimes people attribute symptoms of a cold as the flu, so that can also cause confusion.

    There are a number of side effects associated with the flu shot, but the most common are mild and cause no need for concern. The side effects should not prevent you from getting the flu vaccine because it is a very important element in fighting the flu virus. However, there are a few groups of people that should not get the flu shot. This includes those that had a severe reaction to the flu vaccine before, those that currently have a high fever and those with egg allergies or allergies to other ingredients in the vaccine.

    As a general rule of thumb, unless you find yourself in one of the groups listed above, then you should get the flu shot each year to lessen your chance of getting the flu, reducing your symptoms, and lessening the spread of the virus.

    When Should Seniors Get The Influenza Vaccine

    Manufacturing delay causes shortage of high-dose flu shot for seniors

    It is important for seniors to get the influenza vaccine before the influenza season starts.

    In B.C., the influenza vaccines are usually available in October. For best protection, you should try to get the vaccine as soon as possible. This gives your body enough time, about 2 weeks, to build immunity before the influenza season starts. This immunity typically lasts through the influenza season which usually ends in April.

    In addition to the influenza vaccine, seniors should be immunized against pneumococcal disease. The pneumococcal vaccine protects against infections of the brain, bloodstream, lungs and ear. It is safe to get the influenza and pneumococcal vaccines at the same time. Most people only need 1 dose of pneumococcal vaccine and will not need a booster dose.

    For information about pneumococcal infection and the vaccine, see HealthLinkBC File #62b Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine.

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    Understanding The Side Effects Of The Flu Vaccine

    The flu shot is the recommended vaccine for anyone over the age of 6 months wishing to protect themselves from the flu virus. While flu shots are one of the safest medical products, there are still some side effects associated with the vaccine. Most side effects are mild and short-term, but there is a small chance for more severe reactions.

    Ii3 Vaccine Products Authorized For Use In Canada

    This section describes the influenza vaccine products that are authorized for use in Canada for the 2020-2021 season. All influenza vaccines available in Canada have been authorized by Health Canada. However, not all products authorized for use are necessarily available in the marketplace. The vaccine manufacturers determine whether they will make any or all of their products available in a given market. Provincial and territorial health authorities then determine which of the products available for purchase will be used in their respective publicly funded influenza immunization programs and for which population groups.

    The antigenic characteristics of circulating influenza virus strains provide the basis for selecting the strains included in each year’s vaccine. Vaccine selection by the WHO generally occurs more than 6 months prior to the start of the influenza season to allow time for the vaccine manufacturers to produce the required quantity of vaccine. All manufacturers that distribute influenza vaccine products in Canada confirm to Health Canada that the vaccines to be marketed in Canada for the upcoming influenza season contain the WHO’s recommended antigenic strains for the Northern Hemisphere. Vaccine producers may use antigenically equivalent strains because of their growth properties.

    Standard-dose inactivated influenza vaccine

    Both trivalent and quadrivalent products are authorized for use in Canada.

    Adjuvanted inactivated influenza vaccine

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    Why Should Older Adults Get The Flu Shot

    The flu shot is especially important for older adults because they tend to have weaker immune systems.

    When the immune system isnt strong, it becomes harder for the body to fight off infections. Likewise, a weaker immune system can lead to flu-related complications.

    Secondary infections that can develop with the flu include:

    • ear infections
    • bronchitis
    • pneumonia

    People ages 65 and older are at higher risk for serious complications. In fact, its estimated that as many as 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths occur in people ages 65 and older. Plus, up to 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations occur in people ages 65 and older.

    If you become ill after getting a vaccination, a flu shot may lessen the severity of symptoms of the illness.

    Protecting yourself from the flu is increasingly important while COVID-19 is a factor.

    I1 New Or Updated Information For 2020

    Who Needs to Get a Flu Vaccine?

    NACI recently reassessed the wording for the recommendation on the vaccination of health care workers and other care providers as a group for whom influenza vaccination is particularly recommended. The existing evidence on HCW influenza vaccination and the reduction of morbidity associated with influenza in patients being cared for by a HCW in health care settings was considered in the context of ethics and acceptability. NACI continues to recommend that, in the absence of contraindications, HCWs and other care providers in facilities and community settings should be vaccinated annually against influenza, and recommends the inclusion of this group among the particularly recommended recipients of influenza vaccine. NACI considers the receipt of influenza vaccination to be an essential component of the standard of care for all HCWs and other care providers for their own protection and that of their patients. This group should consider annual influenza vaccination as part of their responsibilities to provide the highest standard of care.

    Recommendation on the use of LAIV in HIV-infected individuals

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