Good Question: Where are flu shots for seniors?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — News10NBC’s Brennan Somers got a Good Question about flu shots, and he also got an answer.

A viewer named Wanda says: "You are encouraging flu vaccinations. I went to Wegmans and asked for the "senior" vaccine. (I am 80, have cancer and COPD). I was told the senior shot is not available and won’t be until the end of October. My question is: Is fall flu season a surprise? Are seniors not valuable? Why is vaccine encouraged but not available?"

She’s not the only one asking those important questions. Here’s what you need to know.

There is a high-dose flu vaccine with a higher amount of antigen compared to the standard shot. It’s meant to give older people — the most at risk — better protection.

So, where are those vaccines?

The Monroe County Department of Public Health sent us this response:

In past years, there have been studies showing the high dose vaccine was effective in preventing the flu or lowering the risk of complications for people 65 years of age and older. According to the CDC, this data is not yet available for the current high dose vaccine.

There appears to be a distribution delay from the manufacturer of the high dose vaccine. The Monroe County Public Health Department encourages seniors to consult with their primary care providers about their options. Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza stresses that any vaccine is better than no vaccine, and people 65 years of age can still receive the standard dose vaccine.

With multiple options for flu shots, we checked with the CDC to see if that agency recommends one vaccine over another for seniors.

The CDC website states that people 65 years and older should get a flu shot, not a nasal spray vaccine. They can get any flu vaccine approved for use in their age group with no preference for any one vaccine over another.


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