Are You Choosing the Right Flu Shot?

Fall is here and you know what that means – it’s time to get a flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone ages 6 months and older get the flu shot each year, including pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions. The earlier you get a flu shot, the sooner you’ll be protected from a serious disease than can lead to hospitalization and even death.

This flu season, several flu shot options are available, including a new shot that protects against four flu strains. Uma Savanoor, MD, MPH, director, medical operations, OccuHealth and Employee Health at ProMedica, breaks down what you need to know about the various flu shots.

Flu Shot Options:

  • Trivalent flu shot: This is one of the most common and readily available flu shots. It protects against the three kinds of flu viruses that most commonly circulate among people today.
  • Fluzone High-Dose flu shot: This is a relatively new shot that protects against two influenza A viruses and one influenza B virus but has four times the amount of antigen than a regular flu shot to create a stronger immune response. It is designed for people ages 65 and older but studies are still being done to determine the effectiveness of the shot.
  • Quadrivalent flu shot: This shot protects against four different flu viruses – two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. It is approved for people ages 6 months and up.
  • FluMist: This nasal spray is designed to protect against four different flu viruses – two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. It’s a weaken live virus that is approved for people ages 2 – 49. This year, the CDC is recommending that healthy children ages 2 – 8 years old get the FluMist vaccine, if possible.

All 2014 – 2015 flu shot options protect against the following flu strains:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • an A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2)-like virus
  • a B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus

Egg-free flu shots are also available.

“The CDC has not expressed a preference for which flu vaccine people should get, except in the case of healthy children ages 2 – 8,” said Dr. Savanoor. “You should consult your family doctor to determine which flu shot is ideal for you as it is the best way protect yourself from the flu.”

To learn more about the flu, visit the CDC’s Flu website.