Dear Doctors: I went to our local pharmacy to get a flu shot for myself and also for my dad. It turns out that because he is 68 years old, he didn’t get the same vaccine as me. They gave him something called “fluad quadrivalent.” How is that different from the regular flu vaccine? Why did he need it?

Dear Reader: First, we want to thank you for taking an important step in safeguarding your health and that of your father. Flu season in the United States started early this year, and it is turning out to be particularly severe. It has resulted not only in widespread illness, but also in high rates of hospitalization. That makes getting vaccinated particularly important.

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Eve Glazier, M.D., MBA, is an internist and associate professor of medicine at UCLA Health.

Elizabeth Ko, M.D., is an internist and assistant professor of medicine at UCLA Health.

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