Vaccine manufacturers predict sufficient supply this year
The best way to reduce the risk of seasonal flu and its potentially serious complications is to get vaccinated every year. For the 2022-2023 flu season, there are three flu vaccines that are preferentially recommended for people 65 years and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These are Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccine, Flublok Quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine and Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted flu vaccine.
Timing of Flu Shot
The recommended timing of vaccination is similar to last season. For most people who need only one dose for the season, September and October are generally good times to get vaccinated. It’s recommended to be vaccinated by the end of October. But a vaccination after October can still provide protection during the peak of flu season.
Who Should Get a Shot
Annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older, with few exceptions, as has been the case since 2010. New this season, however, is a preferential recommendation for the use of higher dose and adjuvanted flu vaccines in people 65 and older over the standard dose, unadjuvanted flu vaccines (An adjuvant is an ingredient used in some vaccines that helps create a stronger immune response in people receiving the vaccine. In other words, adjuvants help vaccines work better.).
Will There Be a Shortage?
Vaccine manufacturers have projected that they will supply the U.S. with 173.5 million-183.5 million doses of influenza vaccines for the 2022-2023 season. These projections may change as the season progresses. All flu vaccines for the season will be quadrivalent (four component). About 20% of flu vaccines will be egg-free.
COVID-19 and Flu Vaccine
People can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time if they are eligible and the timing coincides.
Even though both vaccines can be given at the same visit, people should follow the recommended schedule for either vaccine: Those who have not gotten their currently recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccine should get one as soon as possible, and ideally get a flu vaccine by the end of October.
Flu Vaccine Benefits
Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. For example, during 2019-2020, the last flu season prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 7.5 million influenza illnesses, 3.7 million influenza-associated medical visits, 105,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations and 6,300 influenza-associated deaths, reports the CDC. During seasons when flu vaccine viruses are similar to circulating flu viruses, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40-60%.
A 2021 study showed that among adults hospitalized with flu, vaccinated patients had a 26% lower risk of intensive care unit (ICU) admission and a 31% lower risk of death from flu compared with those who were unvaccinated.
A 2018 study showed that among adults hospitalized with flu, vaccinated patients were 59% less likely to be admitted to the ICU than those who had not been vaccinated. Among adults in the ICU with flu, vaccinated patients on average spent four fewer days in the hospital than those who were not vaccinated.
Residents can get flu shots through their primary doctors and at various drug stores and retail centers. To find the closest location, visit www.vaccines.gov/ and type in your zip code. See page 13 for information on the Optum flu clinic at the LW Health Care Center.