OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – We’re about a week into fall, which means it’s time for the seasonal pumpkin spice-flavored products and, of course, your flu shot.
For the first time ever, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is specifically recommending seniors, 65 and older, get one of the souped-up flu vaccines because they provide better protection than a standard flu shot does. This is critical for older adults have weaker immune systems and have a greater risk of developing dangerous flu complications.
The souped-up vaccines are the Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, which is a high-potency vaccine that contains four times the amount of antigen as a regular flu shot does, which creates a stronger immune response for better protection. And the Fluad Quadrivalent, which contains an added ingredient called adjuvant MF59 that also helps create a stronger immune response.
Both these vaccines can cause more of the mild side effects that can occur with a standard-dose flu shot, like pain or tenderness where you got the shot, muscle aches, headache or fatigue. And neither vaccine is recommended for seniors who are allergic to chicken eggs, or those who have had a severe reaction to a flu vaccine in the past.
If you are allergic to eggs you should ask for a FluBlok Quadrivalent shot, which doesn’t use chicken eggs in the manufacturing process. This vaccine is proven to be 30 percent more effective than a standard-dose influenza vaccine in preventing flu in people age 50 and older.
If you haven’t already done so, you should also get a COVID-19 booster shot this fall. Both Moderna and Pfizer have developed new updated COVID booster vaccines that added an Omicron BA 4/5 component to the old formula, which provides better protection.
And according to the CDC, you can get both shots at the same time because the vaccines will not interfere with each other. It is, however, suggested that you get each vaccine in a different arm, to reduce any soreness or swelling that might occur.
Another important vaccination the CDC recommends to seniors, especially this time of year, are the pneumococcal vaccines for pneumonia.
The CDC recently updated their recommendations for the pneumococcal vaccine and now recommend that everyone 65 and older who has not previously received any pneumococcal vaccine should get either PCV20 (Prevnar 20) or PCV15 (Vaxneuvance). If PCV15 is used, this should be followed by a dose of PPSV23 (Pneumovax23) at least one year later. Or, if you’ve previously received a PPSV23 shot, you should get one dose of PCV15 or PCV20 at least one year later.