NATIONAL (CBS NEWSPATH) – Doctors say getting a flu shot is more important than ever during the coronavirus pandemic, especially for people over 65 because they’re at high risk for serious complications from both viruses.
The high-dose flu vaccine is recommended for older adults. It has four times more antigens than the regular shot. “As we age, our bodies have a bit more difficulty making that antibody response to a regular-dose vaccine, so if we expose people who are over the age of 65 to a higher dose of that antigen, they’re more likely to make a much more robust response,” says Dr. Kristin Englund from the Cleveland Clinic.
If you haven’t received your flu shot yet, now is the time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting the vaccine by the end of October.
Some pharmacies and doctors are reporting limited supplies of the high-dose vaccine or that it’s no longer in stock. Dr. Englund says older adults should not delay and take whatever shot is available. “It’s really important to get vaccinated against the flu with whatever your pharmacy has. We’re starting to get into the flu season right now, so we really don’t want people to wait too much longer,” she says.
Getting the flu vaccine can reduce a person’s risk of illness, hospitalization, and death. It can take up to two weeks after getting the vaccine for the body to develop the antibodies for protection.
Mary Annandono always gets a flu shot. “My husband and I, we’re in our 70s, the older you get the more inclined you are to have underlying health conditions that put you at a greater risk for complications from having the flu,” she says. Annandono received the high-dose vaccine.
Annandono knows it’s especially important to get her flu shot in the middle of the pandemic. “When so many things are not in our control, it’s the easiest thing to do,” she says. Annandono says she’s done everything she can to protect herself and her family.
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