News: Flu Shots 2020-2021

It is that time of year again when the days are getting a little shorter, and kids are going back to school (sort of), and with that the debate about Influenza Vaccine.  Well this year more then ever, we can see the effect of a virus on our society without a vaccination.  For that reason, we are urging you to get an Influenza Vaccine.  They are never 100% effective, but as the coronavirus has shown us, any modicum of protection would be worthwhile.  Routine annual Influenza Vaccine is recommended to all individuals over age six who do not have a known contraindication.  (There are very few exceptions). 

When is the best time to get a vaccine?

A vaccine should be administered by the end of October, but the vaccination should continue to be offered if influenza viruses are circulating locally.  Vaccination too early in the season (e.g., July or August) may lead to suboptimal immunity later in the season, particularly among older adults.  For those of you who just got a flu vaccine, you should be fine until at least March 2021.

Should I get a special Influenza Vaccine if I am over 65?

Patients over 65 have the option of getting a high dose Influenza Vaccine.  There is some limited data that the high dose vaccine may provide greater benefit then a standard dose vaccine.  However, it is better to get a standard dose vaccine then to not get any Influenza Vaccine.  We have noticed, anecdotally, that there may be a slightly higher rate of side effects with the high dose vaccine. 

Special Populations:

Pregnant women should get an Influenza Vaccine.

Immunocompromised patients (Cancer patients, Diabetics, Patients with immune deficiency) should get an Influenza Vaccine but it should not be a live attenuated vaccine.  We do not use that type in our office.  The immune response can be reduced as a result of chemotherapy or transplant regimens.

Patient's with caregivers should have their caregiver vaccinated.

Patient's with an active COVID-19 infection should wait until they are no longer ill before receiving an Influenza Vaccine.