Medicare Flu Shot Coverage

Medicare Flu Shot Coverage - Senior Female

Medicare Part B provides flu shot coverage. You can get one FREE flu shot per flu season! The CDC recommends seniors get a flu shot in September or October. Read about the flu vaccine and discover the following:

What is Influenza?

To prevent the influenza virus from causing a contagious respiratory illness, the CDC recommends getting the flu vaccine. The influenza virus causes mild to severe illness and can result in hospitalization and death. Seniors are at high risk for serious flu complications. Moreover, it’s more important than ever to get your flu vaccine during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the CDC, the flu can cause the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
Medicare Flu Shot Coverage - Senior Male 370x500

2 Human Influenza Viruses

The influenza virus has four antigenic types: A, B, C, and D. Human Influenza types A and B cause seasonal epidemics. Moreover, Influenza type A viruses cause flu pandemics. For example, the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic lasted 19 months and killed 284,000 people. According to the CDC, “Influenza B viruses generally change more slowly in terms of their genetic and antigenic properties than Influenza A viruses.”

The photo shows the protein structure of the Influenza virus. The blue surface proteins are Hemagglutinin (H), and the red surface proteins are Neuraminidase (N). Inside is the Ribonucleoprotein (RNP) containing the viral RNA.

Medicare provides flu shot coverage to protect against two Influenza type A viruses (H1N1 and H3N2) and one or two Influenza type B viruses.

Medicare Flu Shot Coverage - Influenza virus

New Flu Vaccines for Seniors

According to the CDC, this year’s 2020-2021 flu season vaccines “were updated to better match viruses expected to be circulating in the United States.” Moreover, there are two new flu vaccines for seniors:

  • Quadrivalent high-dose vaccine
  • Quadrivalent adjuvanted vaccine

High Dose Flu Vaccine

Medicare Part B provides high dose flu shot coverage for seniors (brand name Fluzone High-Dose). It contains four times the amount of antigen as a regular shot. Consequently, you have a more robust immune response and higher antibody production. Results from a clinical trial of over 30,000 seniors who received the high dose vaccine had 24% less influenza illness than the standard dose flu vaccine. 

Medicare High Dose Flu Shot Coverage

Adjuvanted Flu Vaccine

The additive MF59 creates a more robust immune response in the adjuvanted flu vaccine. Trials show seniors have a “significantly higher immune response than those who received a standard flu vaccine.” CDC reports a study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases among seniors. It found that trivalent FLUAD provided “greater protection against flu-related hospitalizations than the standard-dose, egg-based flu vaccine.”

FLUAD adjuvanted vaccine

Medicare Flu Shot Coverage

Medicare Flu Shot Coverage - Senior Female with Flu

In conclusion, Medicare Part B pays for senior flu shot coverage. The flu vaccine protects you from a contagious respiratory illness from two human influenza viruses, type A and B. Furthermore, Medicare Part B provides seniors with two new vaccines: Fluzone High-Dose and FLUAD adjuvanted flu vaccine.

In addition to flu vaccines, Medicare provides other vaccine coverage. For example, Medicare Part B provides seniors with Hepatitis B and Pneumococcal vaccine coverage. Furthermore, your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage pays for the Shingles vaccine.