Don’t Let the High Dose Flu Shot Shortage Deter You From Getting Vaccinated
This year we are fortunate to have multiple types of flu vaccines available for those 65 years and older. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated during the 2017-2018 flu season, vaccinations prevented 7.1 million illnesses, 109,000 hospitalizations, and 8,000 deaths. These numbers indicate that vaccination plays a vital role in reducing flu-related health complications and death. For that same flu season, vaccination of U.S. adults 18 years and older was the lowest it has been over the last 10 flu seasons at 37.1 percent and at 59.6 percent for those 65 years and older. In addition, those 65 years and older accounted for 70 percent of the total hospitalizations and 90 percent of the deaths during the 2017-2018 flu season.
The CDC recommends any age-appropriate flu vaccine for all people 65 years and older. The High Dose Trivalent Flu Vaccine contains a higher dose of flu vaccine and protects against three different types of viruses or “strains.” Those over 65 are particularly susceptible to contracting the flu due to their body’s decreased ability to fight off infections as one ages, which is the rationale for the development and use of the Fluzone High-Dose (HD-IIV3) vaccine.
The Quadrivalent Flu Shot doesn’t have a high dose version this year, however it protects against four virus strains which includes an additional B type virus. Getting four strains of flu virus protection from a Quadrivalent Flu Shot is another valuable option. Even with the shortage of High Dose Trivalent Flu Shot, do not decline the vaccination; any flu vaccine is better than no flu vaccine.
Not only do routine annual flu vaccinations reduce your risk of contracting the flu, they also help prevent the spread of the flu. Don’t let High-Dose unavailability prevent you from protecting yourself. Alternative vaccines that protect against four types of flu virus include Afluria, Fluarix, Fluzone and Flulaval, as well as the egg free quadrivalents Flucelvax and Flublok.
More information can be found in the table below.
If you are a Network Health member and have questions about the flu vaccine, contact our pharmacy department at 920-720-1287 or 1-888-665-1246.