Flu season is here and on track to be severe. Currently, the U.S. is experiencing the highest influenza hospitalizations seen during this time period in the last ten years.
This year, health officials have new flu shot guidance for older adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adults 65 and older get a high-dose or adjuvanted flu vaccine this season.
The West Virginia Immunization Network, a program of the The Center for Rural Health Development, has urged state residents take the CDC’s advice to seek a stronger flu vaccine.
“While anyone can become ill with the flu, older adults are at a higher risk of developing serious complications from the virus. This is because older adults generally do not have immune systems that are as strong as younger, healthier people. By boosting the immune response, the high-dose and adjuvanted flu vaccines offer better protection against flu viruses and is specifically designed for people in this age group,” said network officials.
Higher dose and adjuvanted flu vaccines are the preferred flu vaccine types for people 65 years and older during the 2022-2023 season. All available flu vaccines are quadrivalent, meaning they protect against four different strains of influenza. Choosing the appropriate flu vaccine depends on your age, health history, allergies, and several other factors that should be discussed with a healthcare provider.
In addition to vaccination, West Virginians can help stop the spread of the flu and other diseases by washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick.