Immunization Recommendations for Aging Adults
Immunizations are typically thought of as something we all get when we are children – but not so much as we continue to age. However, some childhood vaccines wear off with time, leaving adults and the elderly unprotected.
It is recommended that all adults, regardless of their health, receive the recommended immunizations to help prevent the spreading of serious diseases. However, it is essential that aging adults with health conditions protect themselves against additional illnesses by keeping their vaccines up-to-date. What are some recommended vaccinations for adults age 65 and older?
Seasonal Flu (Influenza) Vaccine
Influenza can be a severe disease for the elderly that can lead to hospitalization, and when combined with other conditions, prove to be fatal. The CDC estimates that flu-related hospitalizations since 2010 is up to 710,000. Flu season can start as early as October and last through May – so it is best to get the flu vaccination as quickly as possible for best coverage. Flu vaccinations can cover up to four different viruses including H1N1, H3N2, and two different influenza B viruses. This immunization is most commonly administered by a shot.
TD or Tdap Vaccine
This vaccination provides a person coverage against Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Whooping Cough and is first administered at the age of two months old. It is again recommended for preteens aged 11-12 and then recommended on an ongoing basis of once every ten years. Medicare Part D plans will cover up to 100% of the vaccination costs for many patients.
Older adults are the most significant at-risk population for pneumococcal severe infections that can result in death. These infections can range from pneumonia to ear, sinus, and bloodstream infections. Similarly, to most vaccines, while this immunization does not completely prevent disease, studies show that it prevents 75% of adults 65 years or older against invasive pneumococcal disease. Medicare Part B covers 100% of the cost for pneumococcal vaccines.
The zoster vaccine helps prevent the spreading of the varicella-zoster virus, commonly known as chickenpox and shingles. Shingles in adults are known to cause significant complications to a person’s short-term and long-term morbidity. This vaccine reduces a person’s risk by 51% and is given once by shot and is recommended for adults aged 50 to 59-years-old for maximum coverage.
Before you receive any vaccinations be sure to consult a healthcare professional who can assess your health and make sure you are a candidate to receive the immunization. If you are planning to travel internationally, you may need additional vaccines. Mac’s LTC Pharmacy Solutions offers mobile clinics who can assist your community’s residents in receiving the vaccines they need. Contact us if you are interested in hosting a mobile clinic in your community in the future.