How are high-dose flu shots different?

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- A new study shows regular flu shots are only 30 to 40 percent effective in people 65 and older.

Dr. Speights with St. Bernards suggest seniors get the high dose vaccine which works better in that age group.

"High dose flu shots actually came out for those specifically 65 and older," Speights said. "Because as we age, our immune system is not as strong as it was when we were younger."

A new survey was conducted by the vaccine's manufacturer, Sanofi and involved 32,000 seniors. The results show the high dose was 24 percent more effective than the regular shot.

Speights said because seniors have a weaker immune system, it sometimes takes a higher dose to stimulate a response in their body.

"It's a trivalent vaccine which means it's got three different types of influenza vaccine in it," he said.

Health experts said regular flu shots tend to be only 30 to 40 percent effective in seniors. Although the high dose would raise that number 10 percent, doctors say that could mean fewer illnesses and deaths

"I think it is important to remember the senior population is at a higher risk for complications," Speights said. "If you've haven't gotten one get and you're over the age of 65 you might consider getting this vaccine because it could provide some additional protection to get that immune response that you're looking for."

Senior can be proactive during this flu season by washing their hands and being aware of those around them.

"The flu virus can stay alive on things like chair tops, desks, doorknobs so hand washing is really important," Speights said.

"Unfortunately, when it gets colder sometimes we get bunched into church or ball games and things like that so be aware of that because usually that's where the virus gets readily passed back and forth."

The Craighead County Health Department will have a mass flu clinic on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the St. Bernard Auditorium.

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