This year we are stocking three types of influenza vaccine, aka the “Flu Shot”
First of all for those over 65 – High Dose
Why is a higher dose vaccine available for adults 65 and older?
Human immune defenses become weaker with age, which places older people at greater risk of severe illness from influenza. Also, ageing decreases the body’s ability to have a good immune response after getting influenza vaccine. A higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is supposed to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu.
Does the higher dose vaccine produce a better immune response in adults 65 years and older?
Data from clinical trials comparing High-Dose among persons aged 65 years or older indicate that a stronger immune response (i.e., higher antibody levels) occurs after vaccination with “High-Dose”. Whether or not the improved immune response leads to greater protection has been the topic on ongoing research. A study of the high-dose vaccine was 24.2% more effective in preventing flu in adults 65 years of age and older relative to a standard-dose vaccine. The “High Dose” vaccine has protection against two strains of the “A” virus and one strain of the “B” virus.
The difficulty for us in providing the “High Dose” vaccinations is trying to figure out how many patients out of the hundreds we will vaccination will want the “High Dose” vaccination. Our initial supply of “High Dose” may be all we can get this year. Reorders for influenza vaccines is always touch and go, some years you’re lucky to get what you get. We have to order vaccines in the spring for use in the fall and winter.
What is quadrivalent flu vaccine?
The quadrivalent flu vaccine is designed to protect against four different flu viruses; two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. We will vaccinate most patients with this vaccine, keeping in mind that those over 65 we will recommend the “High Dose” as long as it is available. When our supply of “High Dose” is exhausted we will switch those patients to the quadrivalent flu vaccine. We do not recommend waiting for more “High Dose” to come it, as we mentioned above reorders of flu vaccinations is touch and go.
What is Trivalent flu vaccine?
The final flu vaccine is the tried and true Trivalent form, trivalent meaning that you get protection against three types of virus, two strains of “A” virus and one strain of “B” virus. We ordered less of the Trivalent this year feeling that most patients over 65 would get the “High Dose” and those under 65 would get the Quadrivalent Vaccine. So why did we even get any Trivalent vaccine, the simply answer is cost. Some insurance plans won’t pay for the quadrivalent vaccines. This is always hard for us to fathom, because if you do get the flu they’ll pay a whole lot more for your care, when had they paid for the Quadrivalent vaccine you might not have even got the flu.