|Anthem Encourages Older Adults to Protect Themselves with Annual Flu Shot|
Seniors Who Are Confused by Their Vaccine Options Should Talk to Their Doctor
In terms of vaccine options, the flu mist, a popular alternative to the
flu shot, has never been recommended for aging seniors, but that’s
especially true this season since the mist proved ineffective for all
age groups in treating the flu last season, according to Dr.
There is a “high dose vaccine” designed specifically for select people 65 and older. It is four times stronger than the regular flu shot. This year there is also a flu vaccine for older adults with an adjuvant to create a stronger immune response. This vaccine has proven effective in some studies and is considered an acceptable alternative.1 In addition, there is always the tried and true annual flu shot, which is formulated each year based on early flu season projections and is available in either standard trivalent (protection against three viruses) or quadrivalent (protection against four viruses) varieties this year.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend one
vaccine over another,” Frank said. “Therefore, we recommend older adults
work closely with their doctors to get the vaccine that is right for
them. Importantly for those with a
“Last season’s flu shot is not enough to protect you again this year,” Frank added. “Viruses change and immunity wanes over a year so annual vaccination is needed to ensure the best possible protection against influenza.”
For older adults who have not received a flu vaccine, the CDC also
recommends two pneumococcal vaccinations to protect against pneumonia,
meningitis and bloodstream infections. The vaccines are administered a
year apart. Both are covered by
Finally, it’s important for aging seniors to take day-to-day precautions
to protect themselves from viruses, including avoiding close contact
with infected people, keeping hands away from the face, washing hands
with soap and water, getting plenty of sleep, being physically active,
managing stress, drinking plenty of liquids and eating nutritious foods.
Anyone with flu symptoms should contact their health care provider
immediately to determine if antiviral treatment would assist in their
recovery. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines that fight against
the flu in your body. Early treatment could cut the duration of a
hospital stay for older adults and reduce their risk of needing extended
care after discharge.2 Most
The flu vaccine is not recommended for those allergic to eggs or any of the ingredients in the vaccine or for people who have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Older adults should also avoid the intradermal flu vaccine, which is given with a smaller needle and not in the muscle for those fearful of shots. For more information about the dangers of flu and the benefits of vaccinations, talk to a health care provider or visit www.cdc.gov/flu.
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