Do you need an “enhanced” flu vaccine?
If you’re wondering about the other flu vaccine and whether you or your aging parents may need it, you’re not alone. Confusion and misunderstanding surrounding the flu vaccine is common, but it’s important to stay informed – especially given how dangerous influenza can be for the elderly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC reports that people age 65 and older are at high risk of developing serious complications from the flu compared with young, healthy adults. The agency estimates that 70-85% of flu-related deaths have occurred in this age group in recent years.
Types of flu vaccine
Multiple types of flu vaccines are available, including a regular influenza vaccine and high-dose flu vaccine, according to the CDC. You can read about each type of vaccine here. Seniors age 65 and older should only get a flu vaccine and not the nasal spray vaccine, the CDC reports.
The high-dose or “enhanced” flu vaccine, called Fluzone, is specifically licensed for people 65 years old and older and contains four times the antigen of the standard-dose inactivated influenza vaccine.
“The higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is intended to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu,” the CDC notes on its website.
Why the flu shot is important for aging parents
Here’s a look at why the flu vaccine is so important for elderly people.
- Getting the flu vaccine is shown to reduce the chance of getting the flu, which can be particularly dangerous for older people, the CDC notes.
- Even if you get the flu, those who have had the flu vaccine may have a less severe case and have a lower chance of serious complications.
- Seniors should get the flu vaccine each year, even later in the flu season such as January or February, since the flu can circulate year-round, the CDC explains.
Where to get the flu vaccine nearby
In addition to your primary care physician’s office and local health clinics, the following places may offer the flu vaccine for children, adults and senior citizens. Be sure to call your nearest location in advance to confirm flu vaccine availability, hours and costs.
- CVS Pharmacy and CVS MinuteClinic locations
- Rite Aid
- Macomb County Health Department
- Oakland County Health Department
- Wayne County Health Department
- Washtenaw County Health Department
- MedPost Urgent Care
- Sam’s Club
For more locations and details, visit the CDC’s Flu Shot Finder at vaccinefinder.org.