There are 2 types of flu shots to choose from: Which one should you get?

You’ve heard it repeatedly: You should get your annual flu shot. You can go to your local pharmacy, doctor’s office, or hospital to get the shot, but you should probably know that there are two different types of shots, each of which offers varying coverage.

One is the trivalent vaccine, and the other, the quadrivalent vaccine. The trivalent vaccine protects against three strains of the flu — an influenza A, or H1N1, virus; an influenza A, or H3N2, virus; and an influenza B virus. The quadrivalent vaccine, meanwhile, protects against four strains: all of the strains in the trivalent vaccine, plus an additional B virus strain.

11 PHOTOS
Flu season in the United States
See Gallery
Flu season in the United States
Emergency room nurse Kathy Nguyen wears a mask as deals with flu patients at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California, U.S., January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Emergency room nurse Christine Bauer treats Joshua Lagade of Vista, California, for the flu as his girlfriend Mayra Mora looks on in the emergency room at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California, U.S., January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Emergency room nurse Christine Bauer treats Joshua Lagade of Vista, California, for the flu in the emergency room at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California, U.S., January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Doug Hasselo, 87 of Carlsbad, California, is treated for the flu by float nurse Nellie Reyes in the emergency room at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California, U.S., January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Joshua Lagade of Vista, California, gets an IV from emergency room nurse Christine Bauer at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California, U.S., January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Emergency room nurse Richard Horner wears a mask as he deals with flu patients at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California, U.S., January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A doctor hold a syringe as part of the start of the seasonal influenza vaccination campaign in Nice, France October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Boxes of vaccines against the flu are seen as part of the start of the seasonal influenza vaccination campaign in Nice, France October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
PORTLAND, ME - DECEMBER 29: Troy Ali, 21 of Portland receives a flu shot from Greater Portland Health medical assistant Anissa Millette at the clinic in Franklin Towers on Cumberland Ave on Friday, December 29, 2017. (Staff Photo by Carl D. Walsh/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22: Vials of the Fluvirin influenza vaccine are displayed at a Walgreens phramacy on January 22, 2018 in San Francisco, California. A strong strain of H3N2 influenza has claimed the lives of 74 Californians under the age of 65 since the flu season began in October of last year. People are being encouraged to get flu shots even through the vaccine has been only 30% effective in combating the influenza. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22: A sign advertising flu shots is displayed at a Walgreens phramacy on January 22, 2018 in San Francisco, California. A strong strain of H3N2 influenza has claimed the lives of 74 Californians under the age of 65 since the flu season began in October of last year. People are being encouraged to get flu shots even through the vaccine has been only 30% effective in combating the influenza. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

There is a certain quadrivalent flu shot that can be given to children as young as 6 months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other quadrivalent flu shots are approved for people aged 3 and up.

So which one are you likely to get, and should you be opting for something different?

In general, you’re probably getting the quadrivalent vaccine, infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the John’s Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Most places are going to be primarily stocking the quadrivalent,” he says. “You want to get this vaccine because it covers against more strains.”

However, there is one big exception: The CDC recommends that people who are 65 and up get what’s called a high-dose influenza vaccine — which is another name for a trivalent vaccine. “Because of the way it’s formulated, it only has three strains,” Adalja says, explaining that, with only three strains in the formula, you can make the doses a bit higher than with four. “It’s kind of a trade-off: You’re getting the benefit of a higher dose against some of the more dangerous strains. In a high dose, there’s only so much you can pack into a vaccine.”

For the record, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices does not state a preference for the quadrivalent vs. the trivalent. Still, the quadrivalent just makes sense for many people, Adalja says. “The CDC doesn’t want to confuse people more,” he explains. “They just want people to get something, which is much better than nothing.”

If you know you want to get your flu shot and aren’t sure which type you’re getting, just ask. Your doctor or pharmacist should be able to tell you.

Shop some vitamins and supplements we love below!

11 PHOTOS
Multivitamins and supplements to start taking
See Gallery
Multivitamins and supplements to start taking

Osteo Bi-Flex Joint Health Ease, $29.75

For flexibility and joint comfort

BUY IT

Vitafusion Multi-vite, $9.21 (orig. $11.99)

With vitamins A, C and D

BUY IT

Nature Made Vitamin D3, $6.49

For strong bones, teeth, muscles and a health immune system

BUY IT

Centrum Adult (200 Count) Multivitamin, $13.50

Supports energy, immunity and metabolism

BUY IT

HUM NUTRITION OMG!™ Omega The Great Supplements, $30

For even skin tone, a healthy heart and body

BUY IT

Nature Made Multi Complete, $8.63 (orig. $11.59)

A complete multivitamin for adults

BUY IT

OLLY Balanced Belly Gummy Supplement, $13.99 (orig. $14.99)

For intestinal health

BUY IT

PERRICONE MD Skin & Total Body Dietary Supplements, $155

For nourished and conditioned skin

BUY IT

Nature's Bounty Absorbable Calcium, $11.08 (orig. $13.09)

Supports bone health

BUY IT

Turmeric Curcumin with Bioperine Joint Pain Relief, $20.94

Supports healthy joints and brain function

BUY IT
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for the Best Bites by AOL newsletter to get the most delicious recipes and hottest food trends delivered straight to your inbox every day.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.