Savvy Senior: Vaccination options are available for seniors this flu season

There are several different types of flu shots available to seniors this year, along with a new FDA-approved shot for pneumonia.
BY JIM MILLER Published: October 2, 2012
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DEAR SAVVY SENIOR:

Are there any new or different types of vaccines being recommended to seniors this flu season?

Health Conscious Carol

DEAR CAROL:

There are actually several different types of flu shots available to seniors this year, along with a new FDA-approved shot for pneumonia. Here are your options.

Flu shots

Just as they do every year, the CDC strongly recommends a seasonal flu shot to almost everyone, but it's especially important for seniors who are more vulnerable. The flu puts more than 200,000 people in the hospital each year and kills around 24,000 — 90 percent of whom are seniors.

This year, all seniors 65 and older have two flu vaccine options from which to choose. A traditional flu shot, or a shot of Fluzone High-Dose. The high-dose vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibody) as a regular flu shot does, which creates a stronger immune response for better protection.

And if you're under age 65, your two options are a regular flu shot, or a shot of Fluzone Intradermal. The intradermal vaccine uses a shorter, thinner needle to inject the vaccine just under the skin, rather than in the muscle like other flu shots. If you're squeamish about needles, this is a nice option.

You also need to be aware that if you're allergic to chicken eggs or if you have had a severe reaction to a flu vaccine in the past you should not get vaccinated without consulting your doctor first.

To locate a vaccination site that offers regular, high-dose and intradermal flu shots, ask your doctor or pharmacist, or check the online flu-shot locator at flu.gov. Most chains like CVS, Walgreens, Safeway, Kmart, Walmart, Rite Aid and Kroger offer all types of shots.

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