October is the time of year for the flu vaccine. Individuals 65 and older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu. Flu seasons can vary in severity, but during most seasons, those 65 an older bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease. We will discuss flu shots for older adults in 2018-2019.
Flu Shots for Older Adults
The best way to protect against the flu and its potentially serious complications is with the seasonal flu vaccine each year in October. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination typically continues throughout flu season, even in January or later.
The flu vaccination is particularly crucial for people 65 years and older. This is because they are at high risk of developing serious complications from the flu. Each season, flu vaccines are updated as necessary to keep you with changing viruses. Additionally, immunity wanes over a year so annual vaccination is necessary to ensure the best possible protection against influenza. Immunity from the flu vaccine sets in after about two weeks.
Older people with weaker immune systems often have a lower protective immune response after flu vaccination. As a result, this makes them more susceptible to the flu. Immune responses may be lower in the elderly. However, vaccine effectiveness has been similar in most flu seasons among older adults and those with chronic health conditions. Despite the fact that older adults have weaker immune responses to vaccine flu vaccines, there are numerous reasons why individuals in that age group need this vaccine each year.
Types of Flu Shots for People 65 and Older
There are regular flu shots that are approved for use in individuals 65 and older and there are also two vaccines specifically for people 65 and older. These include the following:
High Dose Flu Vaccine
The high dose flu vaccine consists of 4 times the amount of antigen as a regular flu shot. It results a stronger immune response following vaccination (higher antibody production).
This type of flu vaccine for older adults has been approved for use in the U.S. since 2009.
Adjuvanted Flu Vaccine
The adjuvanted flu vaccine is another type of flu shot for older adults. It creates a stronger immune system response to vaccination using an additive called Fluad.
This type of flu shot for older adults has been available in the U.S. since the 2016-2017 season.
High Dose and Adjuvanted Flu Vaccine Side Effects
The high dose and adjuvanted flu vaccines may result in more of the mild side effects that can occur with standard-dose seasonal shots. Mild side effects can include the following:
- pain, redness or swelling at the injection site
- muscle ache
For more information about flu shots for older adults in 2018-2019 or to schedule your vaccination appointment, contact us here at Brashear Family Medical with the link below!