Fluzone – High Dose

Fluzone – High Dose

A new higher dose flu shot is available at Arthritis Health this season and is recommended by Drs. Howard and Manek for anyone over 65 years old, or those patients with immune disorders or taking immune suppressing medications.  The details of this new vaccination and the reasons for this recommendation are a follows:



Fluzone High Dose is a new influenza vaccine designed specifically for people 65 years and older.   It contains 4 times the amount of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibodies) contained in the regular flu shots.  The additional antigen is intended to create a stronger immune response (more antibodies) in the person getting the vaccine.



Human immune defenses become weaker with age, which places older people at greater risk of severe illness from influenza.  Also, ageing decreases the body’s ability to have a good immune response after getting influenza vaccine.  A higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is supposed to give older people a better immune response and therefore better protection against flu.

Data from clinical trials comparing regular Fluzone to Fluzone High Dose among persons aged 65 years and older indicate that a stronger immune response occurs after vaccination with Fluzone High Dose.  Whether or not the improved immune response leads to greater protection against influenza after vaccination is not yet known.  An ongoing study designed to determine the effectiveness of Fluzone High Dose in preventing illness from influenza compared to Fluzone is expected to be completed in 2014-2015.



The safety profile of Fluzone High Dose vaccine is similar to that of regular flu vaccines although adverse events were reported slightly more frequently with Fluzone High Dose.  The most common adverse events were mild and temporary and included pain, redness and swelling at the injection site and headache, muscle aches, fevers and malaise.  Most people had minimal or no adverse events after receiving the Fluzone High Dose.



Drs. Howard and Manek strongly recommend a flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu.  The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is not expressing a preference of one vaccine to another at this time.  Dr. Howard recommends the high dose vaccine especially for those over 65 with immune disorders or anyone who is taking immunosuppressive mediations (steroids, chemotherapy, synthetic immunosuppressant  (such as methotrexate, azathioprine, mycophenylate, cyclophosphamide)  and biologic  immunosuppressant ( Enbrel, Remicade, Humira, Orencia, Actremra, Rituximab)


More information can be found about Fluzone High Dose at