A group of experts has revealed that senior citizens who are over 65 years might need a specialized vaccine to keep the flu infection at bay. The regular dose of flu shot works well for young people but it does not offer protection for people who are above 65 years of age. Senior citizens above 65 years are at a higher risk of having severe complications due to flu-like pneumonia. Nearly 63 percent of adults are immunized with a vaccine to prevent influenza each year in the US. Scientists at the University of Connecticut Center on Aging have said that a normal flu shot might be a little help for old people as it minimizes the risk of severe illness. If only a normal flu shot is accessible then it is better than no flu shot at all.
Experts say that normal flu shot might not provide full protection to senior people. Regular flu shot initiates the antigens as a small form of an inactive dose of the influenza virus. These antigens enter the bloodstream and trigger an immune response to ramp up the production of antibodies, which fight the disease. However, the immune system of old people weakens with age. A weaker immune system makes it harder for the body to produce sufficient antibodies to fight off the disease. That is why scientists have come up with a specialized dose of flu shots for senior citizens who are above 65 years. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended two types of flu shots for people above 65 years. The first one is a high dose flu vaccine known as Fluzone and the other one is an adjuvanted flu shot called Fluad. People can get both the flu shots at their healthcare provider’s office. The first one high dose flu vaccine is available at pharmacies as well. Fluzone has a four times higher amount of antigens as compared to a normal flu shot.
A higher amount of antigens will allow the body to produce sufficient antibodies to fight the infection even if the immune system is weak. Another vaccine for old people, adjuvanted flu shot increases the body’s response to the virus protein. There is a substance called squalene oil in the adjuvanted flu shot, it gives an extra boost to the immune system. Squalene oil is known as MF59 as well. Experts inform that as adjuvanted flu shot amplifies the immune response, it has certain side effects as well. People who get this flu shot might witness irritation in the injection site, muscle pain, or headache. However, this vaccine provides greater protection to senior people.