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Flu season is just around the corner.  It can start as early as October, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This year, there is some good news for seniors to whom this time of the year can be very deadly.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new and potentially improved flu vaccine, Fluzone High-Dose, for adults 65 and older in 2009. The FDA gave the approval for the vaccine, but instructed the manufacturer to provide more proof of the effectiveness.

The numbers are in – just in time for the 2014-2015 flu season.

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) suggested that the Fluzone High-Dose vaccine is 24.2 percent more effective in preventing the flu in senior citizens than the standard flu vaccine.

Fluzone High-Dose is also superior in preventing secondary flu side effects such as hospitalizations, pneumonia, and cardio respiratory complications, according to David Greenberg, lead researcher and chief medical officer for Sanofi Pasteur.

At this time, Fluzone High Dose is not recommended for individuals under 65 years of age. As with any type of flu vaccine, the CDC does not recommend Fluzone High-Dose to anyone who experienced a severe flu vaccine reaction in the past, including Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Patients considering Fluzone High Dose should talk to their healthcare professional about the benefits and side effects associated with the vaccine before receiving the shot. While vaccines provide a great benefit to the overall population, there are rare instances in which a severe adverse reaction to a vaccine can occur. Rare, but severe vaccine reactions can include, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, anaphylaxis, encephalopathy, transverse myelitis, and shoulder injuries such as brachial neuritis, brachial plexus, shoulder nerve damage, and frozen shoulder, among other vaccine side effects. The federal government has set up the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) to compensate victims injured by an adverse reaction to a vaccine. This Program is not designed to bring suit against the medical professional administering the vaccine or against the manufacturer of the vaccine, but instead is meant to compensate injuries once the victim proves that the vaccine caused the injury complained of.


  1. Gravatar for Luther B. Yount, Jr.
    Luther B. Yount, Jr.

    I got a flu shot in Nov 1996, and got Guillain-Barre syndrome AND Transverse Myelitis in Dec 1996. I also got a blood staph infection (Staphylococcus Aureus) However, the exact infection was in process of identification by an infection specialist. I was also misdiagnosed when admitted to the hospital. Because of a history of back problems, degenerative disc and joint disease, the two neurologist's focused on my C-Spine thinking that was my problem. I also have a heart condition and the infection specialist had a diagnosis of endocardis from the blood staff infection, my cardiologist was called. Three days after admittance I had a feeding tube inserted in my stomach. The fourth day I was having trouble breathing. I had a tracheotomy and was hooked to a respirator, and I had also developed pneumonia. As an adolescence my cardiologist had a cousin that had GBS, and when he saw me in my condition he said, "This man has Guillain-Barre syndrome." This was 10 days after my admittance to the hospital, and the neurologist were still focused on my "C-Spine!" There are two treatments that can be given that stop the progression (e.g. stripping the myelin from the nerves, damage to the nerves, and myelin sheath). However, neither of these treatments will cure the damage that has been done, or cure the disease; my cardiologist inserted a scope in one of the tubes that went into my lungs and could visually view the heart valves, which appeared to be just fine; I was too ill for either of these treatments, but to make sure it was GBS the neurologist did a spinal tap. The Spinal Tap will show an elevated protein count in the blood (normal count is 41 - mine was 300+!), Let me tell you how ill I was two days later: I had Guillain-Barre syndrome (misdiagnosed until two days ago); Transverse Myelitis (not known at the time); a blood staph infection (Staphylococcus Aureus [endocardis]); pneumonia; a temperature of 107.9; Blood Pressure of 44/0 taken by Doppler, would not register by cuff; internal bleeding - source unknown; In a coma; the neurologist had just done an EEG (Brain Scan that showed no activity. It was 3:00 AM and the doctors wanted to talk to my wife, Rosemary; they told her to make arrangements for a post-mortem; that they had just completed a brain scan that showed "no activity."; they also told her that "had I survived I would have severe brain damage from the high temperature and low blood pressure for such a long period of time; However, Rosemary called our Pastor at 5:00 AM, and asked if he could come. When he arrived, everyone circled my bed and prayed for a miracle; I was spared by the grace of God! The GBS progressed into CIDP: Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy; I have been getting IVIg infusions for nearly 18 years with different treatment regimens - The one I'm on now seems to fit my symptoms best; The Transverse Myelits and GBS has left me with many residual disabilities; However, I feel blessed to have the abilities that allow me to take care of myself, drive (but I know my limitations and understand that a driver's license is NOT A RIGHT but A PRIVILEGE) and I want that Privilege to last. AND that is why I put LIMITATIONS on the things I can no longer do as well as I use too...especially during darkness.

  2. Gravatar for Jane

    Did you report this on VAERS? Don't think the hospital or doctor will do it. You can be compensated if you have all the information.

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