Bianca Castro

High-Dose Flu Shot Available For Senior Citizens

At 81-years-old Sherrie O'Pry has the time do what she loves, which is volunteer at the North Hills Senior Clinic.

What she doesn't have time for is the flu.

"I just go back to remembering the last time I had the flu. My hair hurt!" she says. 

She's getting the high dose flu shot, which contains four times the amount of antigen as a regular flu shot.

It's been approved for use since 2009 and is recommended for people 65 and up.

"People over 65 don't produce as many antibodies or enough of a response to a vaccine as younger people, so they came up with the idea of boosting the dose four times the normal dose to generate an extra immune response," says Dr. Justin Bartos at Medical City North Hills.

A study published this month found the high dose shot was 30 percent more effective in preventing flu-related, senior hospitalizations. 

However, a different survey found only 63 percent of Americans over age 60 plan to get a flu shot this season.

Dr. Bartos says he hears a lot of concerns that flu shot will make you sick.

"Occasionally, someone may have fever, but you don't get the raging 101 fever, total body aches, can't breathe, coughing all the time that you get with influenza. It does save lives," said Dr. Bartos.

"I feel like if I got something that's going to keep me from having it or it's going to lighten it or it's going to keep someone else from getting it, then I'm going to take advantage of it. The high dosage gives me a little more insurance," said O'Pry.

Seniors over 65 years of age should also be up to date with pneumococcal vaccination to protect against pneumococcal diseases, such as pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections, according to the CDC. 

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