What types of flu vaccine are available?

There are many options for the flu vaccine this year. Below is an overview of each option; click the link to learn more about each one. 

If you have questions about any of these options, please talk with a doctor about what is right for you or your child.

  • Standard dose flu shots: These injections are given into the muscle. 
    • They are usually given with a needle. 
    • Two versions (Afluria and Afluria Quadrivalent) can be given to some people (those aged 18 through 64 years) with a jet injector.

  • High-dose shotsThese are approved for people aged 65 and older. Fluzone High-Dose is three-component (trivalent) inactivated flu vaccine, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur Inc.
    • Who can get it:  Fluzone High-Dose is licensed specifically for people 65 years and older. 
    • Why it's high-dose: Fluzone High-Dose contains four times the antigen (the part of the vaccine that helps your body build up protection against flu viruses) of standard-dose inactivated influenza vaccines. The higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is intended to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu.

  • Shots made with adjuvant: These are for people aged 65 and older. An adjuvant is an ingredient added to a vaccine that helps create a stronger immune response to vaccination. 
    • How it's made: It is manufactured using an egg-based process (like most flu vaccines), and it is formulated with the adjuvant MF59. 
    • What makes it different: FLUAD is a standard-dose, three-component (trivalent) inactivated flu vaccine, manufactured by Seqirus that contains an adjuvant. 
    • Who can get it: FLUAD is designed specifically for people 65 years and older.

  • Shots made with virus grown in cell culture: A cell-based flu vaccine was developed as an alternative to the egg-based manufacturing process. 
    • What makes it different: Cell culture technology is potentially more flexible than the traditional technology, which relies upon adequate supply of eggs. In addition, the cell-based flu vaccine has the potential to offer better protection than traditional, egg-based flu vaccines as a result of being more similar to flu viruses in circulation..

  • Shots made using a vaccine production technology: This type is also called a recombinant vaccine. 
    • What makes it different: It does not require the use of flu virus and does not use chicken eggs in the production process. 
    • Who can get it: Currently, recombinant flu vaccine is the only egg-free vaccine on the U.S. market. Flublok Quadrivalent is approved for use in people 18 years and older.

  • Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV): This is commonly called the nasal spray vaccine. 
    • Who can get it: The nasal spray is approved for use in non-pregnant individuals, 2 years through 49 years of age. 
    • Who cannot get it: People with some medical conditions should not receive the nasal spray flu vaccine.


Does Fluzone High-Dose offer better protection than the adjuvanted flu vaccine?

To date, there have been no randomized studies comparing Fluzone High-Dose with FLUAD (the adjuvanted influenza vaccine).

Show All Answers

1. What types of flu vaccine are available?
2. When does the flu season start? When does it end?
3. Can a flu shot give me the flu?
4. Is this year's vaccine a good match?
5. When did this flu season peak?
6. How many pediatric deaths has the flu caused?
7. Why do we count pediatric flu deaths and not adult flu deaths?
8. How does this flu season compare to past seasons?
9. What are strain types?
10. Why does it matter which flu strains are common in a flu season?
11. What is the difference between a pandemic and a normal flu season?
12. When should I get vaccinated?
13. Does the flu vaccine work right away?
14. Does the flu shot wear off if I get it too early?
15. What protection does the flu vaccine provide if I do get sick with flu?
16. Why do I need a new flu shot every year?
17. Where can I get a flu vaccine?