Who Should Get a Flu Shot?
Jean Robey, MD, is a board-certified physician in the fields of Internal Medicine and Nephrology on staff at Banner Estrella Medical Center.
Question: I am 66 years old and have diabetes and newly diagnosed chronic kidney disease. Should I get a flu vaccine?
Answer: Influenza is an acute respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses. To help prevent or reduce the severity of the illness, vaccinations are created against the virus annually.
More than 90 percent of influenza-related deaths occur among people more than 60 years of age.
Vaccination is available in late September. Optimally, patients at risk should be immunized in October-November, prior to exposure to influenza; however, vaccination should continue into December and throughout the influenza season as long as the vaccine is available.
There are two types of vaccinations available: the live intranasal vaccination and the intramuscular vaccination. The most common is the intramuscular vaccination and it is recommended for:
- People 50 years of age or older
- Adults who have chronic conditions such as
- cardiovascular (excluding hypertension)
- kidney, liver or hematologic disorder
- diabetes mellitus,
- any neurologic condition that can compromise handling of respiratory secretions
- immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by medications or HIV infection),
- Residents of nursing homes and chronic care facilities
- Women who will be pregnant during the influenza season
- Healthcare workers, workers at chronic health care facilities, providers of home care to persons at high risk, and household contacts of persons in high risk groups.
Vaccinations are also recommended for children with chronic illness or children at the age of six to 59 months.
Please talk to your primary care physician about obtaining the vaccine or attend a free clinic if any of the above risks are present. Discuss side effects that would make receiving the immunization ill advised at the time of vaccination. Be sure your physician is aware of all of your allergies, including any allergies to egg or egg products.