Seniors show interest in high-dose flu vaccine

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on October 7, 2010 at 9:15 PM

DALLAS — Unlike last year, flu vaccine is readily available — and it's in high demand.

The Dallas County health department has already used half its inventory of 10,000 doses. Officials say they're surprised how many seniors want the "high-dose" flu shot, a new type of vaccine that's available for the first time this year.

Having endured the misery of the flu before, 77-year-old Elizabeth Boeckman is signing up for the new super-powered flu vaccine made just for people over 65.

 

"I assume it's stronger, and therefore better," she said.

Many seniors, in fact, are eager to give the high dose FluZone a shot, even though people are often leery of new vaccines.

"We've actually been surprised by the demand," said Dallas County Health Authority Dr. Steven Harris. "Our first supply of vaccine has all been given, and we're now on our second batch of vaccines that are available to the public."

High dose FluZone contains four times the amount of viral antigen, which is designed to boost immunity in the vulnerable senior population.

Authorities aren't yet sure if it really does.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control are certain of a rise in side-effects, including:

  • pain and swelling at the injection site
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • fever
  • fatigue

Seniors say it feels like the flu. "That's not the same as getting the flu," explained Dr. Harris. "You cannot get the flu from the high dose or the regular seasonal flu shot."

Dr. Harris said the symptoms typically wane within 12 hours.

A few hours of discomfort is worth the risk for Elizabeth Boeckman, who ultimately hopes to avoid a week in bed with the flu.

Following a recent News 8 report on the high-dose flu vaccine, Tarrant County decided to order some, too — but those supplies have not yet arrived.

If you want the high-dose flu shot, contact your local health department, pharmacy, or physician in advance to make sure it is available.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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