Iowans are seeing advertisements for a so-called “super flu shot” for senior citizens.

Iowa Department of Public Health medical director Patty Quinlisk says these vaccines target the influenza virus in two ways.

“One of them basically adds more protein from the flu virus into the vaccine,” Quinlisk says. “It’s basically got four times the amount of what’s called the antigen. The other one is a regular vaccine but it has something called an angivent in it, which basically says, ‘Look, look over here, there’s a red flag come respond to this.'”

The state health department recommends the vaccine, in part, because a recent study found almost 25 percent fewer cases of flu in those who got the so-called super dose. Doctor Quinlisk says, however, if your provider doesn’t have it, don’t wait for it.

“The best flu shot is the one that’s in your arm, so if you go in and they don’t have one of these super-duper high-antigen shots, just get the regular one,” she says. “You’re still going to be protected.” Although Iowa’s influenza season usually begins in November, the health department has already had reports of a few cases across the state.

Quinlisk encourages everyone to get a flu shot every year. The exceptions are infants under six months and those who are allergic to eggs.

(Thanks to Pat Blank, Iowa Public Radio)