A high dose vaccine which has four times the antigens of the regular ‘low-dose’ version is again being offered to seniors, 65 years and older, according to a press release from Wrangell Medical Center..

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a high-dose vaccine for adults 65 years or older.  According to their website, “Human immune defenses become weaker with age, which places older people at greater risk of severe illness from influenza. Also, ageing decreases the body’s ability to have a good immune response after getting influenza vaccine. A higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is supposed to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu.”  

WMC will offer the clinic from 11 am to 4 pm Wednesday, October 18 downstairs at the Harbor Light church.  “The 18th is Alaska Day – a holiday for some – so we’re hoping that having it then will make it easier for folks to get there, and we hope making it available earlier, over the lunch hour, will help those who have to work to take advantage of the opportunity,” notes committee member Kris Reed.

“The cost for an immunization is $25 per low-dose and $45 per high-dose, and we are (as in years past) waiving the $25 injection fee which we have to charge when giving flu shots at the hospital,” says organizer Katrina Ottesen. 

As before, WMC will be able to bill people’s insurance, SEARHC, Medicare and Medicaid, but folks will need to bring their insurance information with them to the church.

According to CDC recommendations, being immunized early in the flu season ensures that protective antibodies are in place before flu activity is at its highest. The vaccine is developed yearly to protect against flu strains that scientists predict will be most virulent for that particular season.

While WMC encourages everyone to get immunized, they say it is particularly important for people 50 years of age and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions and people who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu.

For your comfort, WMC recommends wearing short, or loose-sleeved shirts to the clinic. For more information call Katrina Ottesen at 874-7000.