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High-dose Seasonal Flu Vaccine Designed for Older Adults

Written by Contributor. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on September 28, 2016 with No Comments

by Parth Patel,

PharmD Candidate, Fagen Pharmacy

Flu season is right around the corner, which means it is time to think about getting vaccinated this year. The biggest question you may ask is: Which type of flu vaccine is right for you? Yes, there are five types of injectable flu vaccine that are available at your local pharmacy. There is one flu vaccine that may be right for you this year. It is a good idea to talk to your pharmacist or health care provider about the Fluzone High-Dose influenza vaccine.

Fluzone High-Dose is a flu vaccine that is made specifically for patients 65 years and older. This vaccine contains four times the antigen, a key part in the vaccine that promotes the body to make antibodies to protect you from the flu, than the regular flu vaccine.

You may wonder why there is a special flu vaccine specifically for this age group. There are two parts to the answer. First, our immune system becomes weaker with age. This is why older patients are at higher risk for severe illness from the flu. Second, the body’s ability to have a good response to the flu vaccination decreases with age. The Fluzone High-Dose vaccine was designed to give our older patients a better immune response due to the higher dose of antigen contained in this vaccine.

Ultimately, the high dose vaccine will provide a better protection against the flu than the regular flu vaccine. In fact, studies have shown the high-dose vaccine was about 24percent more effective in preventing the flu, compared to the standard dose vaccine in adults 65 years or older.

It is important to talk about some side effects concerning the Fluzone High-Dose. The side effect profile for the high-dose vaccine is similar to the regular vaccine, although some side effects occurred more frequently with the high dose vaccine. The most common side effects include pain, redness at the injection site, headache, muscle ache, and feeling weakness. It is important to note that these side effects were mild and temporary during clinical studies. In addition, most patients had minimal or no side effects experienced after receiving their Fluzone High-Dose vaccination.

Medicare Part B normally covers one flu vaccine per flu season. Private insurance varies on coverage for this vaccine. If you want to check your insurance coverage or want to receive your high dose vaccine today, Fagen Pharmacy is ready to help.

 Resources:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fluzone high-dose seasonal influenza vaccine. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/qa_fluzone.htm. Accessed August 29, 2016.
  2. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Flu shots. Available at: https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/flu-shots.html. Accessed August 29, 2016.
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