Taking Action


Don’t Waste Your Money: What’s the best flu vaccine for you?

Posted at 1:31 PM, Oct 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-23 15:38:30-04

You can walk into any pharmacy these days and get a flu shot. The standard vaccine is now free, but there are other types to consider.

How effective is the vaccine?

"The vaccine prevents illness about 80 percent of the time for those under 60 and about half the time for those over 65. But even if you do get sick after the vaccine, your symptoms are usually milder," says Dr. Sheila Nolan.

For the broadest protection, Consumer Reports say consider the new quadrivalent vaccine over the standard trivalent type.

"The trivalent vaccine protects against three strains of the flu virus, and the quadrivalent vaccine protects against four. But if that one isn`t covered under your insurance policy, you`ll have to pay about 38 dollars out of pocket," says Dr. Orly Avitzur.

For children ages 2 to 8, the FluMist spray is better protection than a shot. They may need a second dose a month later.

"The nasal spray is made of a weakened but still active live virus. So it shouldn`t be given to people with a poor immune system or their caregivers, pregnant women, or anyone over 50," says Dr. Avitzur.

If you do feel the flu coming on, ask your doctor within the first day or two about prescribing anti-viral drugs. Consumer Reports says, if taken early, drugs like Tamiflu and Relenza can ease flu symptoms and reduce complications like pneumonia.

It's easier than ever to get vaccinated. Many places other than doctor's offices and pharmacies have experienced staff trained in administering the vaccine, including churches, airports and community centers.

You can get a list at Vaccines.Gov. Click on the tab 'Getting Vaccinated' and type in your ZIP code. But do call ahead to make sure they have the vaccine you want.