Tulsa Health Department Offering New High-Dose Flu Vaccine

Monday, October 25th 2010, 5:29 pm
By: News On 6

By Tara Vreeland, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The Tulsa Health Department is kicking it into high gear when it comes to fighting the flu this year.  They're offering a new high dose flu shot, but the vaccine is not for everyone.

See a list of locations where you can get your flu shot 

The standard seasonal flu shot is the go-to at preventing the illness. It's offered in injectable and nasal spray forms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the seasonal flu vaccine is made of the three flu strains most likely to cause illness for that particular flu season. It's recommended for people older than six months.

However, a new, high-dose flu vaccine is now an option.

"They have known for a long time that as you age, your immune system doesn't work as well as it once did. So they have come out with a vaccine this year for 65 and older," said Janice Sheehan, with the Tulsa Health Department.

The Fluzone High-Dose Seasonal Influenza Vaccine is offered only as an injectable. The CDC says the high dose vaccine contains four times the amount of Antigen than the regular flu shot. Antigen is the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibodies.

The high-dose vaccine is designed specifically for those 65 years old and older.

"It's supposed to be 4 times more effective for that particular age group," Sheehan said.

The CDC says the side effects are the same: pain and redness at the injection site. As well as headaches, muscle aches, and fever. But the high-dose version is not recommended for people with severe allergies to chicken eggs or who have had reaction to flu vaccines in the past.

"They put more antigen in there for their immune system to be able to build up antibodies against the flu virus," Sheehan said.

The high-dose flu shot is offered at the Tulsa Health Department for $25. The cost is covered for those on Medicare and Medicaid.