Getting a flu shot isn’t as simple as it used to be. There are now myriad flu shot options, so making your choice can be far more confusing than it was in past years. But, the range of options also now means there is now a flu vaccine that is right for just about everyone.
Flu vaccination is recommended annually due to changes in viral strains and declines in immunity over time. The Centers for Disease Control recommends everyone over six months old receive an annual flu shot to prevent the spread of the various strains of the disease and to help keep those unable to receive a vaccine safe.
The two basic types of vaccinations available are trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines. Trivalent vaccines are what most people have known as the standard flu shot for years. These immunizations protect against three strains of influenza virus, an influenza B strain and two influenza A strains this year. Quadrivalent vaccines were introduced more recently and offer protection against two influenza B strains and two influenza A strains, giving individuals an extra layer of protection.
The many different forms of vaccines are most appropriate for different people. There are multiple factors that come into play when deciding which vaccine is best for a person. The list below may help you identify which flu vaccine is right for you:
The traditional flu vaccines offer protection against the three different strains of the flu that are expected to circulate during flu season. These vaccines do not contain any form of live flu virus. They are available for for people 6 months of age and older.
Looking for something effective against the flu without all the preservatives and antibiotics? The first cell-based flu shot, FLUCELVAX®, is another option to help prevent the flu. It was the first of its kind and has been approved for those aged 18 and up. This vaccine was formed by introducing the virus into cell cultures instead of chicken eggs.
Another cell-based option out there for those who are looking for something that is highly pure is Flubok®. Flubok® is a shot that does not contain any live antibiotics, eggs, influenza virus, gelatin, formaldhyde, or latex. This vaccine can be a great option for those with egg allergies. Flubok® is available for adults 18 years of age and older.
As our bodies age, they naturally become weaker. Therefore, seniors are at much higher
risk of influenza-related complications. In fact, 90% of deaths that occur during the flu season are of those aged 65 years and over. The Fluzone High Dose Flu Vaccine is specifically designed for adults who are 65+. It is made up of an inactivated virus and given as an injection. This is a safe way to ensure that seniors gain optimal immunity for the flu season.
This form of the vaccine is specifically designed for those between 18-64 years of age. The Fluzone Intradermal® vaccine is injected into the dermal layer of the skin versus the muscle. Some other benefits of this vaccine are that the needle used is approximately 90% smaller than the traditional needle, and the vaccine is preservative-free.
This vaccine is very similar to the traditional trivalent vaccine; the only difference is the protection against four strains instead of three. These shots are for people aged 6 months and older. However, the CDC notes that if the quadrivalent vaccine is not available, you should still be sure to get the trivalent vaccine, and it does not recommend the quadrivalent over the trivalent option.
Another option to protect against four strains of the virus and forego the needle entirely is the nasal spray vaccine. The nasal spray form of vaccination can be given to individuals two- to 49-years-old. It is suitable for those who are not at an increased risk for complications from influenza.
Now that you have more information about your flu vaccine options, decide which one is right for you or visit a health professional who can help you make the best choice! Don’t delay, and schedule your appointment today.The flu vaccine is available at Passport Health locations nationwide. It is important to get the flu shot annually, but especially important to have it done just in time for flu season.
To learn more about the various influenza options offered by Passport Health, see our influenza page.