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High-dose flu vaccine recommended for seniors

by CHANSE WATSON
Hagadone News Network | September 23, 2022 1:00 AM

With flu season just around the corner, seniors have a flu shot option that offers more protection.

High-dose quadrivalent vaccines are now preferred for those 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Approved for that age group only, the Sanofi Pasteur Inc. manufactured vaccine contains four times the antigen as standard-dose flu vaccines.

“People 65 years and older are at increased risk of developing serious complications from the flu compared with young, healthy adults,” said Panhandle Health District spokeswoman Katherine Hoyer. “This is partly because human immune defenses become weaker with increasing age. During most seasons, people 65 years and older account for the majority of flu hospitalizations and deaths.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sinus and ear infections are examples of moderate complications from flu, while pneumonia is a serious flu complication that can result from either flu virus infection alone or from co-infection of flu virus and bacteria. Other possible serious complications triggered by flu can include inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis) or muscle tissues (myositis, rhabdomyolysis), and multi-organ failure (for example, respiratory and kidney failure).

The single-dose quadrivalent flu vaccine, offered by Panhandle Health District to those 65 and older throughout flu season, is designed to protect against four different flu viruses, including two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. A common side effect after receiving the shot is a sore arm for a day or so.

With the hopes of protecting the community and preventing the flu from spreading, the health district offers both the standard dose and high dose flu vaccine.

“If our flu season mimics what the southern side of the hemisphere experienced, we may experience a severe flu season,” Hoyer said.

She also stressed that everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exceptions.

“It can reduce flu illnesses, visits to doctor’s offices, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as make symptoms less severe and reduce flu-related hospitalizations and deaths," Hoyer said.

Panhandle Health District is offering drive-thru flu clinics at the Hayden, St. Maries and Sandpoint office locations:

•Hayden — Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

•Sandpoint — Sept. 28 and Oct. 5 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

•St. Maries — Sept. 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Oct. 4 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Vaccines are also available by appointment at health district offices.

The majority of pharmacies, as well as general physicians, also offer flu vaccines. Many local senior care facilities throughout North order the vaccine for their residents and administer it by their nursing staff.

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