Did you know that there are many different types of flu shots available each year to choose from? According to the CDC, everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season, with rare exceptions for those with certain medical conditions or who may have allergies to vaccine ingredients. For the 2021-2022 flu season, there are both injectable (shots vaccines as well as a nasal spray available. Different influenza vaccines are approved for different age groups with some vaccines specially designed for those over age 65 who are at highest risk of complications to the flu.
Each year the flu season begins around October and then peaks between December and February and the sooner you get your shot the better. Because flu strains are different from year to year, it is necessary to formulate a new flu shot for each flu season. The annual flu shot for 2021-2022 is called a "quadrivalent" shot because it actually contain vaccines against the four most prominent strains of the season flu. I have included a list of the various flu vaccines available for the 2021-2022 flu season below and encourage you to discuss this information with your health care provider to determine if you should take a flu shot, and if so, which shot is right for you.
Standard Flu Shots-
Standard-dose quadrivalent flu shots including Afluria Quadrivalent, Fluarix Quadrivalent, FluLaval Quadrivalent, and Fluzone Quadrivalent. These vaccines are manufactured using virus grown in eggs, so those allergic to egg protein cannot use them. Each of these standard dose quadrivalent shots are licensed for different age groups.
Flucelvax Quadrivalent is an egg-free vaccine alternative licensed for people ages 4 and older who are allergic to eggs and Flubiok Quadrivalent, is another egg-free vaccine, approved for people 18 years and older.
Enhanced Flu Shots for those over age 65-
Fluad Quadrivalent is a quadrivalent flu shot using an added ingredient which helps to boost a stronger immune response and is approved for people over age 65.
Fluzone High-Dose, is a specially formulated quadrivalent flu shot containing a higher dose of the antigen to help create a stronger immune response and is licensed for people over the age of 65.
Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine-
For those of you who do not like needles, FluMist is a quadrivalent vaccine, which is given intranasally. This vaccine is approved for people 2 through 49 years of age. Please note that live attenuated influenza vaccine should not be given to people who are pregnant, immunocompromised persons, and some other groups.
Can I take a flu shot and a Covid shot at the same time?
As with all the health care decisions, I recommend you discuss the option of vaccinations with your health care provider to see what is best for you. If you decide to take a Covid-19 shot or booster when you make an appointment for a flu shot, according to the CDC, Covid-19 vaccines may be taken on the same day as a flu shot.