Here’s what you need to know about flu vaccines for 65 years and over
While influenza affects people of all ages, infections among the elderly are more likely to require hospitalisation or cause serious complications such as pneumonia and heart attacks. Of the 1,100 Australians who died in 2017 from flu-related causes, 90% were aged 65 and over.
There are currently two vaccines specifically designed for people 65 and over.
The first is “Fluad”, which has an additional ingredient to boost its effectiveness. It is also free under the National Immunisation Program (NIP).
The second is “FluZone High Dose” – containing a higher dose of the influenza vaccine. However it is not provided free under the NIP.
Both are recommended for use only in people aged 65 and over. But neither is perfect. It is important to remember flu vaccines are, at best, only partially protective.
Older people’s immune systems don’t respond to flu vaccines as well as younger people’s.
Compounding this problem is that the flu subtype that tends to affect older people (A/H3N2) is different to that which affects younger people (A/H1N1).
Page published: 26 March 2018
Page updated: 21 August 2019