Have you received your flu shot yet?
The flu shot arrived in Ontario pharmacies a little later this year. The choice of which strains of influenza would be picked for each year‘s vaccine is based on the circulating influenza viruses on the other side of the world. Information collected from Australia is very helpful in determining which strains we include in our vaccine each year. There was some uncertainty as to the best selection for our North American strains and this resulted in a delay.
The flu shot available throughout Ontario pharmacies is the standard dose vaccination which includes four influenza virus strains. Ideally, for people age 65 and over, the high-dose vaccination is preferred as it offers better efficacy without increased adverse effects. The high-dose vaccine is only available through family physician offices.
If you are age 65 or older, it is suggested that you contact your family physician to see if they have any high dose vaccine available. There may not be enough high-dose vaccine for all people over 65 years of age. For this reason, family physicians have to prioritize the people at highest risk of infection to receive it. If there is none available, it is still worthwhile having the standard dose flu shot either through your family physician or community pharmacy.
Neither flu shot is live and therefore it is safe to receive the vaccine while on biologic therapy.
Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health. Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.
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