Flu Shot

Things You Should Know About The 2020 Flu Vaccine

Flu Vaccine 2020

As we round the corner of 2020 into the remaining months of the year the CDC maintains its guidelines for Americans.  The best way to protect against flu and its potentially serious complications is with a flu vaccine. CDC recommends that almost everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine each year by the end of October. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue throughout flu season, even into January or later.

Flu Vaccine For 65 And Older

It has been recognized for many years that people 65 years and older are at high risk of developing serious complications from flu compared with young, healthy adults. This risk is due in part to changes in immune defenses with increasing age. While flu seasons vary in severity, during most seasons, people 65 years and older bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease. In recent years it’s estimated that between 70 percent and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older.  Between 50 percent and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in this age group.

How Do Flu Vaccines Work?

Flu vaccines are updated each season as needed to keep up with changing viruses. Immunity wanes over a year so annual vaccination is needed to ensure the best possible protection against flu. A flu vaccine protects against the flu viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Flu vaccines for 2020-2021 have been updated from last season’s vaccine to better match circulating viruses. Immunity from vaccination fully sets in after about two weeks.

As people age their immune systems change. People 65 years and older may not respond as well to vaccination as younger people. Older people have consistently found that flu vaccine has been effective in reducing the risk of medical visits and hospitalizations associated with flu.

Types Of Flu Shots For People Over 65

As you age past 65 years and older should get a flu shot, not a nasal spray vaccine. You can get any flu vaccine approved for use in your age group. There are regular flu shots that are approved for use in people 65 and older.  There also are two vaccines designed specifically for this group, the high dose vaccine and the adjuvanted vaccine.

The high dose flu vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen as a regular flu shot. These shots are marketed under the brand name Fluzone Quadrivalent High-Dose. It is associated with a stronger immune response following vaccination. Results from a clinical trial of more than 30,000 participants showed that adults 65 years and older who received the high dose vaccine has 24% fewer influenza illnesses as compared to those who received the standard dose flu vaccine. The high dose vaccine has been approved for use in the United States since 2009.

The adjuvanted flu vaccine is marketed under the brand names Fluad Quadrivalent and Fluad Trivalent. It is made with MF59 adjuvant as an additive to create a stronger immune response. In recent review of multiple vaccine trials, older adults who received a MF59 – adjuvated vaccine had a significantly higher immune response than those who received a standard flu vaccine. The adjuvanted vaccine was available for the first time in the United States during the 2016 – 2017 flu season.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *