Containing three flu strains, a high-dose flu vaccine is a flu shot aimed at defending against illness for a specific flu season.
Containing four times the amount of antigen (the part of the vaccine that causes the body to produce antibody) in regular flu shots, high-dose flu shots, along with the additional antigen produced, are intended to create a stronger immune response.
With age also comes the decreased ability to have a good immune response to a flu vaccine, thus creating a greater risk for older people of severe illness from influenza. But with a higher dose of antigen, older people gain a heightened immune response.
While Fluzone High-Dose is approved for use in people age 65 and older, those who have suffered from a severe reaction in the past and people with a severe allergy to chicken or eggs should refrain from using the Fluzone High-Dose vaccine.
While all injectable flu shots are made up of the three strains most likely to cause you to become ill in any given season and are developed to protect people from influzena, only Fluzone High-Dose shots contain four times the amount of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibody) found in regular flu shots, along with additional antigen intended to produce an overall stronger immune response.
The vaccine, Fluzone High-Dose, is approved for people age 65 and older, although like all flu vaccines, it is not recommended for those who have previously experienced severe flu vaccine reactions.
Put plainly and simply, with age comes weaker human immune defenses that ultimately place older people at increased risk of illness. With a higher dose of antigen in the vaccine, older people can gain a better immune response and better protect themselves against the flu.
Similar to recipients of regular flu shots, patients who received Fluzone High-Dose reported adverse effects such as mild and temporary pain, redness and swelling at the site of injection as well as headaches, muscle aches, fever and malaise. After receiving a Fluzone High-Dose vaccine, a majority of people in clinical studies had minimal to no side effects.
Please note: This flu vaccine does not contain live virus and, therefore, cannot give patients the flu.
Visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website for additional information.
No. Unfortunately, it only defends against influenza. Learn more about the pneumonia vaccine.
Information & Advice
The CDC has pulled together helpful flu guidelines, FAQs, tools and tip sheets.
Still have a question? Come in to your local CVS/pharmacy and ask a pharmacist.
Find a Location
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Fluzone High-Dose Seasonal Influenza Vaccine" http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/qa_fluzone.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), http://www.cdc.gov/flu/
*Restrictions apply. Excludes sale items. Shopping pass cannot be distributed in AR, NJ or NY.
**Vaccinations available when immunizing pharmacist is on duty, while supplies last.
†Eligible Medicare Part B patients will not pay any copayments unless otherwise required by their plan.
††Prescription may be needed in certain states, including GA, MD, NC & SC.