This year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic it’s more important than ever before for older adults, especially those with chronic conditions like asthma, to get their influenza vaccination.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends the high-dose flu vaccine for older adults and has been proven to be more effective than a standard-dose vaccine in adults 65 years of age and older against the flu. Getting your annual influenza vaccination is the best defence against the flu and can help prevent hospitalizations and complications from occurring.
Why It’s So Important for Older Adults to Get The Flu Shot
According to Immunize Canada, aging is associated with an increase in risk and severity from influenza. They estimate that 50% of seniors aged 65 years and older have two or more chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and lung conditions like asthma, which increase the risk of influenza infections and complications.
In fact, individuals with chronic health conditions such as asthma have the highest risk for influenza-related complications. For seniors living with asthma, there are a number of increased risks from influenza including:
- Being more likely to develop pneumonia after getting sick with influenza.
- Having an increased risk of an asthma attack being triggered by influenza or pneumonia. Viral and upper respiratory tract infections can both cause asthma episodes and increase sensitivity to asthma triggers.
- Having an increased likelihood of hospitalization & complications.
Why Get The High-Dose Influenza Vaccine?
The immune system weakens with age, but specifically designed vaccines like the NACI-recommended high-dose flu vaccine help create a stronger immune response which makes it more effective for those aged 65 or older.
As previously mentioned, getting vaccinated is your best defence against the flu, and for older adults the high-dose flu vaccine is a more effective means of protection. In trials, the high-dose influenza vaccine has been demonstrated to be more than 24% more effective than the standard flu shot in older adults.
Annual immunization is an effective and safe way for seniors to lower their influenza risk and according to Immunize Canada, immunization prevents 40% of hospitalizations due to influenza in seniors over 65. Getting the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommeded high-dose flu vaccine is an important way for all seniors, not just those with chronic conditions, to protect themselves from influenza.
For more information about the annual flu vaccination, and whether the high-dose influenza vaccine is available in your province, speak to your doctor, pharmacist or local Public Health authority.