Updated
September 9th, 2019

Older Hemodialysis Patients Can Choose Either Regular or High-Dose Flu Shots

Seniors should get an annual flu shot and not a nasal spray flu vaccine

senior couple walking in the park on a cold day

It has been recognized for many years that people 65 years and older are at greater risk of serious complications from influenza.

This is because human immune defenses become weaker with age.

Flu vaccination has been shown to reduce influenza-related illnesses that can result in hospitalization in seniors.

In a recent study of 507,000 people, researchers found the high-dose influenza vaccine (HDV) did not confer additional protection when compared with the standard-dose influenza vaccine (SDV) against all-cause mortality or influenza-related outcomes, for seniors undergoing maintenance hemodialysis.

Maintenance hemodialysis is a treatment modality available to few patients reaching end-stage renal disease. This type of dialysis is a process of purifying the blood of a person whose kidneys are not working normally.

Additionally, this new study found HDV also conferred additional cost and had side effects, which are advised to be taken into account when offering this type of influenza vaccine to people of 65 years of age.

This new information is important since a previous study reported the high-dose influenza vaccine was associated with lower rates of hospitalization among dialysis patients. That study was published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 

Recent influenza news

The CDC says ‘People 65 years and older should get a flu shot and not a nasal spray vaccine each year.’

There are regular flu shots that are approved for use in people 65 and older and there also are two vaccines designed specifically for people 65 and older.

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High-Dose Flu Vaccine

  • The “high-dose vaccine” contains 4 times the amount of antigen as a regular flu shot. It is associated with higher antibody production. The high-dose vaccine Fluzone has been approved for use in the United States since 2009.

Adjuvanted Flu Vaccine

  • The adjuvanted flu vaccine, Fluad, is made with MF59 adjuvant an additive that creates a stronger immune response to vaccination. This vaccine was available for the first time in the United States during the 2016-2017 season.

But, the high-dose and adjuvanted flu vaccines may result in more of the mild side effects that can occur with standard-dose seasonal shots, says the CDC.

More information about different types of flu vaccines can be found at the CDC.

Flu vaccines are available at most pharmacies in the USA, and financial support programs can be found at Vaccine Discounts.  

The CDC says any vaccine can cause a side effect, which should be reported to a healthcare provider.

Published by Precision Vaccinations