High-dose flu shot, which many doctors recommend for those over 65 due to risk of death, is becoming more available

It’s time for flu shots, but the annual reminder has a new angle: Fluzone HighDose, a special vaccine designed for people 65 and older, who make up 90 percent of the 23,000 people who die of the flu and its complications.

“The high-dose vaccine for seniors, introduced last year by drug-maker Sanofi Pasteur, is becoming more widely available in the area, and health workers say it’s in high demand,” Laura Ungar reports for The Courier-Journal of Louisville.The Jefferson County Health Department “charges $40 for the high-dose shot and $25 for the regular vaccine that is injected.” (C-J photo by Bill Luster: Joe Blincoe of Louisville gets one of the new, high-dose shots)

The high-dose vaccine contains four times as much antibody-creating antigen as a regular shot, and it is recommended by Dr. Nancy Stiles, a geriatrician and associate professor of medicine at the University of Kentucky, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “says problems such as pain and swelling at the injection site and headache or muscle aches were reported more frequently after people got the high-dose vaccine,” Ungar writes. “At this point, the CDC is not recommending one type over the other,” pending a study. “Whichever type of flu shot seniors get, local doctors are also urging them to make sure they have had a pneumonia shot,” which is good for at least five years. (Read more)

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