Here’s what you need to know about the new flu vaccines for over-65s
In an attempt to avoid a repeat of last year’s horror flu season, Health Minister Greg Hunt yesterday announced the government would fund two new flu vaccines in 2018 to try to better protect the elderly.
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 last year from flu-related causes, 90% were aged 65 and over.
The two free vaccines for over-65s work in different ways: FluZone High Dose is a high-dose version; Fluad adds an additional ingredient to boost its effectiveness. Both are recommended for use only in people aged 65 and over. But neither is perfect. And it’s important to remember flu vaccines are, at best, only partially protective.
Why do we need new vaccines for flu?
Australia’s National Immunisation Program provides free influenza vaccine for the elderly, as well as other high-risk groups including pregnant women, those with chronic diseases and Indigenous Australians.