As our bodies age, our immune systems become weaker. Those over the age of 65 lose much of their natural ability to fight disease and bounce back from illnesses like influenza, which can cause serious complications.

Cost to get ahead

Prevention is critical, causing increased demand for Fluzone High-Dose, a vaccine with four-times the amount of antigen and flu-fighting power.

"In recent years, it is estimated that between 80 to 90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in seniors."

Unfortunately, manufacturer delays during the last two seasons have forced some vaccine providers to deal with very unhappy senior customers. According to Ashley McFarland, director of Immunization and Wellness at MedStar Visiting Nurse Association, “The seniors we serve want the flu vaccine in September. Though the manufacturer has provided partial shipments of our order in September, the rest of our shipment is often delayed until late October or November. Our customers want protection early, even though flu season does not typically peak until December.”

Competing assessments

Though seniors and their physicians express a preference for the high-dose flu vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not recommended one flu vaccine over another for adults age 65 and older. They simply recommend that everyone receive an annual flu vaccination.

In recent years, it is estimated that between 80 to 90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in seniors. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine indicated that the high-dose vaccine was 24.2 percent more effective in preventing flu in adults 65+ relative to a standard-dose flu vaccine. It is no wonder that seniors demand the added protection.