New flu vaccine for seniors
American ProfileOctober 5, 2011 | 1,733 views | Post a comment
Dear Savvy Senior,
I’ve read that there is a new extra-strength flu vaccine being offered to seniors this year. What can you tell me about it, where can I find it, and does Medicare cover it?
The new extra-strength flu vaccination you’re inquiring about is called the Fluzone High-Dose, and it’s designed specifically for seniors, age 65 years and older. Here’s what you should know.
• Fluzone High-Dose
Manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur Inc., the Fluzone High-Dose vaccine was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2009, and was first made available last flu season on a limited basis.
The main difference between the Fluzone High-Dose and a regular flu shot is its potency. The High-Dose vaccine contain four times the amount of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibody) as a regular flu shot does, which creates a stronger immune response for better protection. This extra protection is particularly helpful to seniors who have weaker immune defenses and have a great risk of developing dangerous flu complications. The CDC estimates that the flu puts more than 200,000 people in the hospital each year and kills around 24,000 -- 95 percent of whom are seniors.
As with all flu vaccines, Fluzone High-Dose is not recommended for seniors who are allergic to chicken eggs, or those who have had a severe reaction to a flu vaccine in the past.
To locate a vaccination site that offers the Fluzone High-Dose, ask your doctor or pharmacist, or check the online flu-shot locator at flu.gov for clinics or stores offering flu shots. Then, contact some in your area to see whether they have the High-Dose vaccine. CVS, Walgreens, Safeway, Kmart, Rite Aid, and Kroger are among some of the chains offering the High-Dose shot.
You’ll also be happy to know that if you’re a Medicare beneficiary, Part B will cover 100 percent of the cost of your High-Dose vaccination. But if you’re not covered the cost is around $50 to $60 -- that’s about double of what you’d pay for a regular flu shot.
Another important vaccination the CDC recommends to seniors -- especially this time of year -- is the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine for pneumonia and meningitis (the vaccine is called Pneumovax 23). Pneumonia causes more than 40,000 deaths in the United States each year, many of which could be prevented by this vaccine. If you’re over age 65 and haven’t already gotten this one-time-only shot, you should get it now before flu season hits. Pneumovax 23 is also covered under Medicare Part B, and you can get it on the same day you get your flu shot. If you’re not covered by insurance, this vaccine costs around $75 to $85 at retail clinics.
This vaccine is also recommended to adults under age 65 if they smoke or have certain chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, diabetes, sickle cell disease, have had their spleen removed, or have a weakened immune system due to cancer, HIV, or an organ transplant.
Savvy Tips: In addition to getting vaccinated, the CDC reminds everyone that the three best ways to stay healthy during flu season is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and stay home if you’re sick. For more information on the recommended vaccines for older adults, see cdc.gov/vaccines.
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC “Today” show and author of The Savvy Senior book. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit http://SavvySenior.org.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
A creepy Halloween party appetizer (October 19, 2016)
Applying for Social Security (October 19, 2016)
Chili Cook-off to benefit Wilson County youth (October 19, 2016)
DRT joins Heritage Music Festival (October 19, 2016)
DRT to meet Oct. 24 in Kerrville (October 19, 2016)
Enjoy Harvest Festival in Marion (October 19, 2016)
Enter Pecan Bake Show (October 19, 2016)
Little Golden Books (October 19, 2016)
Make plans for Halloween fun and fall fests (October 19, 2016)
Meeting the needs of the community: St. Vincent de Paul (October 19, 2016)
R&B legend opens Carver season Oct. 29 (October 19, 2016)
Readers share their spooky tales, part two (October 19, 2016)
Road Runners plan Oct. 22 group run (October 19, 2016)
See country legends Oct. 22 (October 19, 2016)
Try your hand at square dancing (October 19, 2016)
Turn yard waste into gardener’s gold (October 19, 2016)
Baptist church to ring in 100 years (October 12, 2016)
Church plans Junk and Treasure Sale (October 12, 2016)
Comal Country Music Show is Oct. 18 (October 12, 2016)
Davy Crockett (October 12, 2016)
Enjoy fried chicken in Poth Oct. 23 (October 12, 2016)
Enjoy this flashy winter resident (October 12, 2016)
Join in the 2016 Rosary Crusade (October 12, 2016)
National Charity League plans celebration (October 12, 2016)
New program increases student knowledge of E-cigarette dangers (October 12, 2016)
Play bunco in La Vernia Oct. 22 (October 12, 2016)
Pondering a poignant letter from the past (October 12, 2016)
Save the date for Oct. 22 March for Life (October 12, 2016)
Should you redeem old savings bonds? (October 12, 2016)
Show Barn Cook-off approaching (October 12, 2016)
Sutherland Springs Old Town Day (October 12, 2016)
The business of aging grows more complex (October 12, 2016)
Try your luck at China Grove Lions Club Casino Night (October 12, 2016)
Atascosa County Craft Show seeks vendors (October 5, 2016)
Beautify your landscape with cacti (October 5, 2016)
Experience Oktoberfest in San Antonio (October 5, 2016)
Gilded peanuts and golden memories — recalling past Floresville Peanut Festivals (October 5, 2016)
Japan Fest set for Oct. 16 (October 5, 2016)
Meal service delivery options for seniors who don’t cook (October 5, 2016)
Oktoberfest comes to Floresville Oct. 15 (October 5, 2016)
Past Pirate champions will never be forgotten (October 5, 2016)
Readers share their ‘spooky’ tales (October 5, 2016)
Sacred Springs PowWow (October 5, 2016)
Shorter teapot (October 5, 2016)
Sinatra tribute comes to Kerrville (October 5, 2016)
Stockdale librarian updates Blue Bonnet Club members (October 5, 2016)
Sunnyside 4-H Bake Sale (October 5, 2016)
Time for turkey in Cestohowa (October 5, 2016)