Adults Aged 65 Years Are Strongly Recommended To Receive Influenza Vaccine Every Year
Adults aged 65 years are strongly recommended to receive an annual dose of influenza vaccine.
Either the adjuvanted influenza vaccine, Fluad Quad or the high dose influenza vaccine, Fluzone High Dose Quadrivalent is recommended in preference to standard influenza vaccine for adults aged 65 years. See also Vaccine information.
Influenza-associated mortality rates are highest among adults aged 65 years.4 Vaccinating elderly people reduces hospitalisations from influenza and pneumonia, and all-cause mortality.8
Reasons Why Flu Vaccines Are So Importantfor Seniors
1. Seniors and caregivers are at higher risk for fluCold and flu season is here again. Two of the most at-risk populations are seniors and caregivers.
Many seniors are vulnerable to seasonal flu because their immune systems are weaker due to age and often made worse by chronic illness.
Getting a flu shot protects older adults against serious illness and complications.
For caregivers, the chronic stress of taking care of your older adult impairs your immune system and makes you more vulnerable to illness.
And spending a lot of time with your older adult means passing germs back and forth.
When you get a flu shot, youll reduce the risk that youll get sick and infect your older adult. It will also save you the misery of being sick while continuing to care for them.
2. Flu is a serious health risk for seniorsFor seniors, the flu can quickly develop into a severe illness and could cause death.
In fact, the CDC estimates that 70 85% of flu-related deaths and 50 70% of flu-related hospitalizations happen in people who are age 65 and older.
3. Getting the flu shot reduces flu risk and severityEven if the flu vaccine isnt 100% effective, its still worthwhile. Research shows that if someone who is vaccinated does get the flu, they will have a milder case.
People 65 and older are at high risk of serious flu complications and account for the majority of flu hospitalizations and deaths each year.
Safety And Side Effects
The inactivated flu vaccine does not contain the live virus and cannot cause flu. Flu vaccines have a very good safety record. The most commonly reported side effects of flu vaccines are:
- pain, swelling, bruising, hardness or redness at the injection site
- slightly raised temperature
- feeling generally unwell
A higher rate of these common side effects has been reported with Fluad, an adjuvanted trivalent vaccine which was recommended for people aged 65 and over in previous years. This year, a quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine which also uses an adjuvant is being offered to people aged over 65. Side effects usually last 1-3 days.
There are several different makes of flu vaccine available each year. For more information on side effects, ask for the Patient Information Leaflet for the vaccine you are offered. Additional information about vaccine side effects, anaphylaxis and adverse reactions can be found here.
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Flu & People 65 Years And Older
On June 30, 2022, CDC announced that Director Rochelle P. Walensky adopted the Decision memo approving the ACIP vote for a preferential recommendation for the use of higher dose or adjuvanted flu vaccines over standard-dose unadjuvanted flu vaccines for adults 65 years and older. CDCs full recommendations for the use of flu vaccines during 2022-2023 will appear in a forthcoming Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Edits to this page are also forthcoming. More information can be found online: CDC Director Adopts Preference for Specific Flu Vaccines for Seniors
People 65 years and older are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications compared with young, healthy adults. This increased risk is due in part to changes in immune defenses with increasing age. While flu seasons vary in severity, during most seasons, people 65 years and older bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease. In recent years, for example, its estimated that between 70 percent and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older, and between 50 percent and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in this age group.
Even Healthy People Need Vaccines
Many people still think of immunizations are for children they just don’t think of getting these, or they think, “Why should I do that if I’m healthy?”
There are other barriers to getting vaccines among adults, which were outlined in an article published by The American Journal of Medicine.
This article reported that self-reported immunization rates for tetanus, influenza and pneumococcal vaccines were lower than the national guideline goal rates. Common consumer-reported barriers included:
- Lack of physician recommendations
- Incorrect assumptions
Surveyed health care providers suggested additional barriers facing patients include:
- Fear of needles
- Perceived side effects
- Lack of insurance coverage
To increase immunization rates, it’s important to overcome these barriers, such as the widespread myth that vaccines are unsafe and commonly cause serious side effects.
Vaccines have minimal risks and are generally very safe
The risks for vaccines among people age 65 and older are the same as any population, aside from the possibility of less effectiveness with age.
Serious complications are very rare for most patients, the benefits significantly outweigh the risks involved.
The influenza vaccine is made with completely dead forms of the influenza virus, and there is no scientific way you can get the flu from the vaccine. This vaccine is generally safe for all patients over six months of age.
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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
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.
Treatment For The Flu
When considering treatment for the flu, itâs helpful to keep these considerations in mind:
- Treating the flu should begin as soon as possible because antiviral drugs work best when started early or within 48 hours after symptoms start.
- For you to get an antiviral drug, a health care provider needs to write a prescription. These medicines fight against flu by keeping flu viruses from creating more viruses in your body.
- Antiviral drugs can make your flu milder and help make you feel better faster. They may also prevent severe health problems that can result from having the flu.
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Eligibility For 2022 Influenza Vaccines Through The Nip
Eligibility for influenza vaccines under the NIP remains unchanged for 2022 and includes:
- children from 6 months to less than 5 years of age
- adults aged 65 years and over
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
- pregnant women
- people aged 6 months and over with medical conditions which increase the risk of complications.
Further information and resources about 2022 NIP seasonal influenza vaccines will be made available shortly.
Senior Flu Shot Types
The following flu vaccines are recommended for adults 65 and older only. Talk to your doctor about which senior flu shot is right for your loved one.
- Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent is a vaccine made up of four different flu strains likely to cause the flu in the upcoming season. The higher dose of flu virus antigen in the Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccine stimulates a stronger immune response, making it more effective in preventing the flu in seniors than other regular flu vaccines. One study comparing it to the standard flu vaccine also showed the higher-dose vaccine can reduce the need for respiratory-related hospitalizations.
- Adjuvanted flu vaccine contains an additive called an adjuvant. The adjuvant in this vaccine is made with aluminum salts and stimulates a stronger immune response when compared to other standard flu vaccines. This vaccine is usually made up of three different strains of the flu, like other standard flu vaccines, but a quadrivalent adjuvanted vaccine is also available now.
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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.
Cdc Advisory Committee Recommends Use Of High
In a June 22 meeting, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend the use of high-dose vaccines or adjuvated flu vaccine over standard-dose vaccines for seniors. An adjuvant is an ingredient added to a vaccine that helps create a stronger immune response.
Previously, the CDC had said that seniors could get the high dose, but that any dose would do, says Auwaerter.
The CDC director must approve the ACIPs recommendation in order for it to become policy, which is likely to happen, Auwaerter says.
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Better Protection Against The Flu
As noted earlier, better HI antibody responses are known to correlate with protection against influenza infection and reduced clinical disease risk. Yet while it is very encouraging that Fluzone HD induces higher serum antibody titers without significant safety concerns, the jury is still out on whether this actually translates into fewer confirmed cases and serious complications from the flu.
As a condition of licensure under FDAs accelerated approval process, the agency instructed Sanofi Pasteur to conduct a head-to-head study to compare Fluzone HD and Fluzone in 27,000 to 30,000 adult subjects 65 years of age and older. That study will be conducted over three flu seasons to try to account for typical fluctuation in vaccine efficacy, which is related to differences between the flu virus that arrives and the strains picked in advance to make the vaccine. The first season is already enrolled, with the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons to follow. Until that study is finished and the results are known, Fluzone HDs labeling informs providers and recipients that there have been no controlled studies demonstrating a decrease in influenza disease after vaccination with Fluzone High-Dose.
How Does Influenza Spread
Influenza spreads easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing or having face-to-face contact. The virus can also spread when a person touches tiny droplets from the cough or sneeze of an infected person or object and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.
Symptoms can begin about 1 to 4 days, or an average of 2 days, after a person is first exposed to the influenza virus. Fever and other symptoms usually last 7 to 10 days, but the cough and weakness may last 1 to 2 weeks longer.
An infected person can spread the influenza virus even before feeling sick. An adult can spread the virus from about 1 day before to 5 days after symptoms start. Young children and people with weakened immune systems may be able to spread the virus for a longer period of time.
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Tetanus Diphtheria And Pertussis Vaccines
Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis are diseases caused by bacteria that can lead to serious illness and death.
- Tetanus is caused by bacteria found in soil, dust, and manure. It can enter the body through a deep cut or burn.
- Diphtheria 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, 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 protected against these diseases. The CDC recommends that adults get a Tdap or Td booster shot every 10 years. Ask a health care provider when you need your booster shot.
What Are The Side Effects
People may experience cold and flu-like symptoms for up to 2448 hours after getting the vaccine. This shows the bodys immune response is kicking in and the vaccine is working.You can take over-the-counter pain medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve these symptoms.
Other common side effects may include local injection site reactions such as redness, mild swelling and tenderness. This should subside within 48 hours without any treatment. Applying ice or a cold pack can help.
Some people may develop more severe reactions, including anaphylaxis in extremely rare circumstances. This is also why your doctor or pharmacist recommends waiting on-site for 15 minutes after vaccination for monitoring.
If youve had a severe reaction to any vaccine in the past, its important to tell your doctor or pharmacist.
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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 Can Receive Fluzone High
In the United States, Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent is licensed only for people 65 years and older. Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent is not recommended for people with a history of severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or to ingredients other than eggs. Information about vaccine ingredients is located in package inserts from each manufacturer.
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What Other Flu Vaccines Are Available For People 65 Years And Older
In addition to Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, one other influenza vaccine is licensed specifically for people 65 years and older. The adjuvanted flu vaccine,FLUAD Quadrivalent, contains an adjuvant, an ingredient intended to help improve immune response.
One recombinant influenza vaccine, Flublok Quadrivalent , is available during the 20202021 influenza season. Flublok Quadrivalent was first licensed by the FDA in the United States for use in adults 18 years and older in 2017. An earlier trivalent version was licensed in 2013 but was later replaced by the quadrivalent version. A new CDC study showed that flu shots made using recombinant technology produced a better antibody response among health care personnel compared with both cell-based and traditional flu shots.
People 65 And Older Are At Higher Risk For Serious Flu Complications
Why do people 65 and older benefit from a higher-dose flu shot? We know that as people age, especially in people 65 and older, their immune systems dont respond as vigorously as they did at younger ages. This group is especially prone to more severe or complicated influenza, says Auwaerter, and is more likely to require hospitalization.
The idea behind high-dose vaccines is to try to stimulate the immune system to generate higher levels of antibodies, he adds.
In recent flu seasons, the CDC estimates that between 70 and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths and between 50 and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations occurred in people 65 years and older.
Many of my patients who are 65 and older have wanted to get this flu shot because if youre going to get a flu shot at all, why not get one that has a track record for producing better immune responses, providing more protection against influenza, and less severe disease? says Auwaerter.
Side effects for the high-dose flu shot are similar to those of the standard-dose flu shot, he says, with most people having minimal issues.
Public health experts agree that its safe to get a flu shot at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine or booster.
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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.