It’s the season again: Time to gear up for the colder weather and the arrival of a new wave of influenza. As you probably know, influenza viruses usually circulate widely in the United States from late fall through early spring. Most people will recover from the flu if they catch the virus, but people in high-risk groups can become seriously ill or even die. If you’re over 50 or you have a chronic pulmonary disorder such as COPD, you fall into the high-risk category. It’s particularly important for those who are considered high-risk that they get vaccinated before the flu season starts. Here’s the latest information from the CDC about this year’s vaccinations:
Afluria Quadrivalent and Flublok Quadrivalent are available this year for patients 18 years of age or older.
The CDC recommends vaccination for everyone without contraindications older than 6 months, and urges people to get vaccinated before October. If you’re 65 or older, standard-dose or high-dose vaccine is acceptable, they say.
As they did last year, the CDC is recommending against using the live attenuated influenza vaccine (FluMist), because its effectiveness against (H1N1)pdm09 viruses was low during the 2013-14 and 2015-16 seasons.
Many strains and formulas for influenza vaccines are available on the market, some of which may be more effective than others for certain subgroups of the population, such as those over 65. Your doctor will be able to tell you which type of flu vaccine will give you the best protection.