Flu Shot for Seniors: Everything You Need to Know

flu shot for seniors seasons retirement

The flu season usually spans from November to April; getting the flu shot during this time is very important. Especially as we grow older, our immune system experiences changes that mean flu vaccines are essential for protecting older adults from the risk of flu — especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When your parents or grandparents get flu shots, they’re protecting themselves but also others by helping to reduce transmissions and curb the number of flu cases. Individuals above 65 should get their flu shot, even after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

At Seasons Retirement, we follow the advice of provincial and federal governments, local Public Health agencies, and sector regulators to protect our residents from infections like influenza, pneumonia, and COVID-19.

This article will go over the essential details you need to know about the flu shot for seniors.

What is the Senior Flu Shot?

The senior flu shot is a type of flu vaccine produced for older adults aged 65 and above to protect them from influenza (flu) risk.

Flu affects the body’s respiratory system, causing infection of the lungs, throat, and nose. This can sometimes worsen conditions like asthma, diabetes, and other common health challenges that older adults sometimes face.

The flu vaccine for seniors promotes a more robust immune response in older adults, helping them combat the flu virus better than regular flu shots. It produces more antibodies that protect older people from the risk of influenza infection.

Since adults tend to experience changes in their immune systems as they get older, it’s always a good idea to be vaccinated against the flu. Although they can receive this vaccine any time of the year, the fall season is the best.

Types of Senior Flu Shots

Senior flu shots are different from regular flu vaccines as they specifically cater to older people’s immune systems. Older loved ones can consult their physician on the most suitable shot type.

1.    Adjuvanted Flu Shot

The adjuvanted flu shot contains an adjuvant and is a standard flu vaccine for 65 and older adults. It’s usually produced from three strains of the flu. This adjuvant can significantly improve the function of the immune system, thus creating a more robust immune response.

2.    Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent Shot

This type of flu vaccine is a high-dose quadrivalent shot and is only approved for adults aged 65 and older. It is made from four flu strains of the virus.

A higher dose of the Fluzone high-dose quadrivalent shot stimulates a more robust immune system, thus, increasing its effectiveness in preventing flu in older people compared to regular flu vaccines.

3.    Flublok Quadrivalent Recombinant Flu Shot

This flu shot for seniors uses recombinant technology in its production. It’s different from other flu vaccines as it doesn’t use the flu virus during manufacture.

Flu Symptoms

Flu symptoms are similar to the common cold and appear about 1 to 4 days after exposure. However, the flu begins more quicker, and the symptoms are more severe than the common cold.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, runny nose, or cough. Patients may also experience headaches, body aches, fatigue, diarrhea, and vomiting in more moderate cases. If your older loved ones are sharing more than two of these symptoms, it’s advised that they go in for a medical checkup immediately.

Flu Prevention

Although taking flu shots is the best prevention method, there are other effective ways to prevent the flu. Older adults may be familiar with some of these preventive measures, as they are similar to those against COVID-19.

These flu prevention tips include:

  • Partake in exercises that can strengthen natural immunity. Simple workouts like walking, jogging, yoga, and cycling can help improve their body’s defenses against the flu.
  • Practice regular hand washing. When washing, ensure they use soap and water. An alcohol-based sanitizer is a great option as well.
  • Frequently disinfect commonly touched surfaces like the doorknob, railings, table tops, and switches. Disinfecting these surfaces helps prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Contaminated hands can transfer the flu through frequent face touching. This is one reason your loved ones should practice regular hand washing and reduce the frequency of hand touches to their faces.
  • Older adults should maintain a reasonable distance from an infected person. The droplets from a person with flu can increase the risk of flu if in contact with an older person.
  • Avoid an overcrowded environment, as these tend to be hotspots for flu infection. During flu season, minimizing how frequently you visit areas with a lot of traffic will help older adults reduce the infection risk.
  • Cover the mouth when sneezing or coughing. Afterward, older adults should thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water.

Do Older Adults Need Flu Shots Every Year?

Yes, flu shots for seniors should be administered every year. The flu evolves rapidly, and the over-65 flu vaccine may become incapable of dealing with the new strain ahead of the coming “flu season.”

Therefore, older people are always advised to retake this vaccine every year. The vaccines are updated yearly to keep up with the rapidly changing flu strain. Also, the previous vaccine’s immunity reduces after a year, so it’s only appropriate for older ones to take a new flu shot.

When Is the Flu Shot Fully Effective in Older Adults?

The flu shot for seniors doesn’t become effective immediately after receiving the vaccine. Its full effect begins about two weeks after getting the shot.

Hence, your older loved ones should receive the vaccine close to the start of the flu season but not too early. Since the body needs about two weeks to build up defenses against the flu, older adults shouldn’t delay receiving the vaccine.


The flu season spans November to April in Canada, and health experts recommend that older adults receive the flu shot ahead of time.

Aside from getting vaccinated against influenza, your older loved ones should remain cautious to avoid contracting the flu. Basic preventive measures like regular hand washing and staying away from infected persons can go a long way in preventing this infection in older adults.

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