Flu season won’t be upon us again for several months, but doctors already know they don’t want a repeat of last season’s outcome: last year’s vaccine did fine among the general public, but failed to protect elderly patients from contracting the disease.
According to a report from U.S health officials, elderly citizens suffered the most hospitalizations and deaths during the most recent flu season.
According to Web MD seniors and children under 24 months have the highest risk of experiencing severe illness and hospitalization during flu season, and regular doses of the flu vaccine tend to be less effective in people of these age.
For that reason, the CDC encourages everyone to continue receiving flu vaccinations, as some protection is better than no protection. “While it is clear we need better flu vaccines, it’s important that we not lose sight of the important benefits of vaccination with currently available vaccines,” said CDC flu epidemiologist Jill Ferdinands. The CDC reiterates that while the primary vaccine may not be as effective against the dominant flu strain, it may still be effective against other strains.
Although there are two options for injecting flu vaccines, a needle injection is the better option for elderly patients—the nasal spray contains lower dose, and is therefore less effective in certain situations. A high dose, needle injection of Fluzone provides the best protection for people aged 65 and older, as this vaccine contains up to four times more of the active flu-fighting agent than the standard vaccines.
As doctors gear up for the next flu season, everyone should make sure they are protected as well as they can be.
Photo by qimono, CC-BY
Savannah McCoy is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Georgia. She is an avid sports fan and Game of Thrones junkie. Valar Morghulis.