I went to see my doctor a few days ago and was offered a flu vaccination. I’ve been getting flu shots for many years and feel they are valuable to me. The nurse noted that my recent birthday placed me in the “over age-65” category for which a new and stronger version of the flu shot is recommended.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
It has been recognized for many years that people 65 years and older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu compared with young, healthy adults because human immune defenses become weaker with age. While flu seasons can vary in severity, during most seasons, people 65 years and older bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease. In recent years, for example, it’s estimated that between about 70 percent and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older and between 54 percent and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in that age group. So influenza is often quite serious for people 65 and older.
I accepted and received this new-to-me stronger dose. When I awoke the next morning, I felt a headache and stuffy sinuses. I also felt chilled enough while sleeping to retrieve an extra blanket. My symptoms on arising reminded me of alcohol hangovers in my distant past. I felt physically depressed and just wanted to go back to bed. So I did and slept until 5:00 p.m.!
My blood glucose was ranging a bit higher overnight and through my extended “sleep day.” My continuous glucose monitor showed BGs in the 100-160 mg/dL (5.6-8.9) range.
I went to bed early last night and woke up this morning feeling rested and well. I did some internet searching about the nature of the increased dose size intended for people aged 65+. I discovered this info at this CDC web-page:
Fluzone High-Dose vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibody) contained in regular flu shots. The additional antigen is intended to create a stronger immune response (more antibody) in the person getting the vaccine.
I had thought that the increase in strength of the age 65+ flu shot was twice the original version and was surprised to read that it contains four times the antigens of the under-65 formulations.
I still feel that an annual flu shot is a good way to protect yourself, especially if you have diabetes and have passed the age 65 milestone. Have any of my fellow seniors experienced similar reactions to the “stronger” flu shot?