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CDC recommends stronger shots for seniors for what could be a bad flu season

Each year, scientists and pharmaceutical companies create a flu vaccine based on which strain they believe will be circulating in a new season. Because this year's flu season has been so mild, it may be harder for them to figure out which strain of the flu will dominate next season. Flu vaccine manufacturing typically takes place well before the flu season even begins.
Posted at 12:57 PM, Oct 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-06 15:57:50-04

This flu season is expected to be more intense than the past few seasons.

“This upcoming flu season is not going to be like the past two flu seasons which were virtually non-existent because of all the social distancing and mask wearing,” Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said.

Australia recently reported its worst flu season in five years. How the flu season goes in the Southern Hemisphere is a strong indicator for the Northern Hemisphere’s flu season.

“It should be a flu season that is reminiscent of those pre-pandemic,” Dr. Adalja said. He recommends his patients to get a flu shot late October to early November.

Experts say the elderly are at the highest risk for severe disease.

“There are a lot of different flu vaccines and it’s important to talk to your doctor to see which might be the best for you,” Dr. Adalja said.

There are three flu vaccines preferentially recommended for people 65 year or older, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Those include the Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccine, Flublok Quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine and Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted flu vaccine.

Vaccine effectiveness can vary, but recent studies show flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40 and 60 percent, according to the CDC.

Dr. Adalja said you can get a flu vaccine and a COVID booster shot at the same time.

“You may have a little bit more side effects when you do that but it is something you can do for convenience,” he said.

On average, up to 41 million people catch the flu every year, which can result in up to 52,000 deaths, according to the CDC.