Health and Wellness

People 65 Years and Older Need a Flu Shot

Influenza (flu) can be a serious illness, especially for older adults.

FACT: People 65 years and older are at high risk of developing serious complications from flu, compared with young, healthy adults.

This risk is due in part to changes in immune defenses with increasing age. While flu seasons vary in severity during most seasons, people 65 years and older bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease. In recent years, it's estimated that between 70 percent and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths in the United States occur among people 65 years and older, and between about 50 percent and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in this age group.

An annual flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of flu and its potentially serious consequences.

FACT: While flu vaccine can vary in how well it works, vaccination is the best way to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications.

Flu vaccination has been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness and more serious flu outcomes that can result in hospitalization or even death in older people. While some people who get vaccinated may still get sick, flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in those people.

People 65 years and older should get a flu shot, not a nasal spray vaccine. They can get any flu shot approved for use in their age group with no preference for any one vaccine over another. There are regular flu shots and there also are enhanced vaccines approved for use in people 65 and older that may provide a better immune response.

1. A high dose flu vaccine

(Fluzane High-Dose) contains 4 times the amount of antigen as a regular flu shot. The additional antigen creates a stronger immune response (more antibodies) in the person getting vaccinated.

2. An adjuvanted vaccine

(FLUAD) is a standard dose flu vaccine with an adjuvant added. An adjuvant is an ingredient added to a vaccine to help create a stronger immune response to vaccination.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/flu or call 1-800-CDC-INFO

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