For the past “Flu Season” and for this one commencing, those patients in the geriatric populace have a choice of vaccines. You may be encouraged to take the “high dose” form of the inactivated influenza vaccine. This is simply a double dose of the adult form of the vaccine. The newer choice is called the, “Flublok” and is a recombinant vaccine.
The “high dose” vaccine is copied to make enough for millions of persons countrywide through the long-standing process of injecting the proteins for the vaccine into chicken eggs to replicate those proteins. This process does have the possibility of seeing some mutation in the proteins such that you may not have quite the immune response or protection hoped for. Also, some protein from the chicken egg in the vaccine can contribute to those “Flu-like” symptoms a small percentage of patients may experience to a significant degree for a short time after vaccination.
The newer vaccine, “Flublok”, or the recombinant form of the influenza vaccine, is approved for use from age 18 and older. Recombinant technology allows for copying the proteins used in the vaccine by machine rather than using chicken eggs. This allows for a more reliable, more perfect replication process. Because of this, the vaccine is more effective for protecting patients against 3 out of the 4 types of influenza viral strains vaccinated against compared to the “High Dose” form.
I recommend that all persons, but especially geriatric patients, be vaccinated against the influenza viruses during the season usually demarcated as starting October 1st each year and going through March and sometimes later. If you are over 65, you should have either the, “High Dose” form or the, “Flublok”. If you have a choice, I would pick the, “Flublok.” Your insurance should cover the vaccine and you should be able to obtain it (and have it administered) at your local pharmacy.