Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What about the Super Flu Shot?

A patient of mine declined to receive a flu shot yesterday.  He said,"Doc I want that new Super flu shot I heard about in the news.  I really want to avoid getting the flu this year." Hmmm.  I think he meant the Fluzone High-dose seasonal influenza vaccine.  I am going to summarize the highlights from an already good article from the CDC.
1.  This is approved for people 65 years old and older.
2.  The ingredients of regular dose Fluzone and High-Dose are the same.  The dose is 0.5 ml for both, so the High-Dose is more concentrated.
3.  Older adults do not mount as strong an immune response.  The intent of this vaccine is to overcome this by giving a four times larger dose of antigen in the vaccine.  Preliminary data indicate that higher antibody levels are produced.  However it is unknown if this means clinically older adults have greater protection.
4.  The safety profile is similar for normal dose Fluzone, although slightly more local reactions have been reported (red, warmth, tenderness, swelling, fatigue).
5.  If you have a severe allergy to chicken eggs or have had a prior reaction to influenza vaccines, you should consult with your doctor before receiving either Fluzone vaccine.
6.  The CDC does not recommend either vaccine over the other.

Now an important, extra fact.  This vaccine costs more, but Medicare does pay more.  So I doubt most places will carry the vaccine, because they would be taking a loss, unless the patients paid for this with out-of-pocket cash.

Get motivated, get treated, get protected!
Your Allergy Dude

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