There are many options for the flu vaccine this year. Below is an overview of each option; click the link to learn more about each one.
If you have questions about any of these options, please talk with a doctor about what is right for you or your child.
- Standard dose flu shots: These injections are given into the muscle.
- They are usually given with a needle.
- Two versions (Afluria and Afluria Quadrivalent) can be given to some people (those aged 18 through 64 years) with a jet injector.
- High-dose shots: These are approved for people aged 65 and older. Fluzone High-Dose is three-component (trivalent) inactivated flu vaccine, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur Inc.
- Who can get it: Fluzone High-Dose is licensed specifically for people 65 years and older.
- Why it's high-dose: Fluzone High-Dose contains four times the antigen (the part of the vaccine that helps your body build up protection against flu viruses) of standard-dose inactivated influenza vaccines. The higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is intended to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu.
- Shots made with adjuvant: These are for people aged 65 and older. An adjuvant is an ingredient added to a vaccine that helps create a stronger immune response to vaccination.
- How it's made: It is manufactured using an egg-based process (like most flu vaccines), and it is formulated with the adjuvant MF59.
- What makes it different: FLUAD is a standard-dose, three-component (trivalent) inactivated flu vaccine, manufactured by Seqirus that contains an adjuvant.
- Who can get it: FLUAD is designed specifically for people 65 years and older.
- Shots made with virus grown in cell culture: A cell-based flu vaccine was developed as an alternative to the egg-based manufacturing process.
- What makes it different: Cell culture technology is potentially more flexible than the traditional technology, which relies upon adequate supply of eggs. In addition, the cell-based flu vaccine has the potential to offer better protection than traditional, egg-based flu vaccines as a result of being more similar to flu viruses in circulation..
- Shots made using a vaccine production technology: This type is also called a recombinant vaccine.
- What makes it different: It does not require the use of flu virus and does not use chicken eggs in the production process.
- Who can get it: Currently, recombinant flu vaccine is the only egg-free vaccine on the U.S. market. Flublok Quadrivalent is approved for use in people 18 years and older.
- Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV): This is commonly called the nasal spray vaccine.
- Who can get it: The nasal spray is approved for use in non-pregnant individuals, 2 years through 49 years of age.
- Who cannot get it: People with some medical conditions should not receive the nasal spray flu vaccine.
Does Fluzone High-Dose offer better protection than the adjuvanted flu vaccine?
To date, there have been no randomized studies comparing Fluzone High-Dose with FLUAD (the adjuvanted influenza vaccine).