Experts Recommend a High-Dose Flu Shot for Certain Older Adults

It’s October, and that means it’s time to get your flu shot. We’re in that sweet spot where the flu season isn’t here yet, but it’s late enough in the year that the shot shouldn’t wear off before flu season is over. 

While some people may not think the flu shot is important since it does not offer 100% protection from the flu, it is especially important to get a flu shot this year since we’re most likely going to be hit by the flu and COVID-19.

No, the flu shot will not protect you from COVID, but you definitely don’t want to be battling both viruses this flu season.

What you might not know is that there is actually more than one flu shot available. If you’re 65+, you’re going to want to get Fluzone High-Dose. This injectable vaccine is more powerful and more effective than your average flu shot, which is especially important for the older population.

William Schaffner, M.D., is an infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He believes the high dose flu shot is especially ”important for older adults, who are more susceptible to flu complications, both because of the decreased immunity that comes with age and also because they are more likely to have other coexisting health conditions, such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes, that leave them more vulnerable to the flu’s ill effects.”

Many seniors skip the flu shot because they don’t think it’s effective. Even if you get the flu shot and still end up getting the flu, that doesn’t mean that it was pointless to get the flu shot. The flu shot helps minimize symptoms, side effects, hospitalization and death caused by the flu. About 90% of flu-related deaths are among people 65+. Just another reason to get that high-dose flu shot!

As we already mentioned, October is a good time to get a flu shot. It is also a good idea to get the flu shot early in the morning. Interestingly enough, a study from 2016 found that seniors who got the flu shot between 9am and 11am built up more antibodies against the flu than those who got the flu shot between 3pm and 5pm.

In addition to the Fluzone High-Dose vaccine, older adults should also make sure they get pneumococcal vaccine PPSV23 to prevent pneumonia.

Do you usually get a flu shot? Did you know there was a high-dose flu shot for older adults?