Do you need a trivalent or quadrivalent flu shot? If you're not sure which vaccine is right for you, take a look at the top questions answered about the different immunization options.

Is It Necessary to Get Vaccinated?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates between 39,000 and 56,000 people were infected with the flu in the 2019-2020 season. While simple steps such as hand-washing and staying away from sick people can reduce your risks, vaccination is an easy way to protect yourself and others from the flu.

Vaccines aren't 100 percent effective. But they can decrease your chances of getting the flu from an infected person or shorten the severity of the illness if you do get sick.

Do Both Types of Vaccines Protect Against the Flu?

Simply stated — yes. Even though they may have different names, both the trivalent and quadrivalent shots offer protection against the seasonal flu.

What Is the Trivalent Vaccine?

The trivalent vaccine protects against three strains of the flu virus. Seniors ages 65 and over may get a high-dose version of this shot. This vaccine is made with an adjuvant — an immunization ingredient that increases the body's immune response. The increased response helps the body to make more antibodies.

What Is the Quadrivalent Vaccine?

As the name implies (quad), this vaccine includes four strains of the influenza virus. The standard-dose version of this shot is given to children six months or up and adults under age 65. Some types of quadrivalent vaccines are only approved or licensed for use in certain age groups. Like the trivalent shot, the quadrivalent is also available in a high-dose option for seniors 65 and up.

Which Vaccine Offers Longer Lasting Protection?

Neither the trivalent nor the quadrivalent vaccine will provide protection past the current flu season. Not only does the vaccine's protection decrease over time, it only matches specific strains of the flu. This means the vaccine's contents vary annually. Whether you choose a three-strain or four-strain option, you need to get a new shot every year.

Which Vaccine Should You Choose?

If you aren't sure whether you need a vaccine with three strains, four strains, a high dose, or a standard dose, ask a professional for a recommendation. Talk to your doctor about which vaccine is right for your needs. Your medical provider will factor in your age, health status, immune function, and the annual options available.

For more information about flu shots, contact a doctor.