Written by Jeff Smith
August is Immunization Awareness Month. Senior vaccinations and immunizations are incredibly important for maintaining health as we age, yet many seniors still go without these important shots every year.
Influenza, or the flu, is responsible for 30,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations in seniors annually. Pneumonia causes between 350,000 and 620,000 hospitalizations in the 65+ age bracket every single year, with most of the cases surfacing in fall and winter. Alarmingly, 90% of all deaths associated with these two illnesses occur in the population of 65 and older, and many of these deaths could be prevented with proper vaccinations.
Why Are Senior Vaccinations Important?
Fall and winter weather brings stuffy noses, colds, and sickness every year. Between the months of September to February, seniors are far more likely to contract everything from the flu, to shingles, to meningitis and pneumonia. That’s why Immunization Awareness Month was created in August to serve as an annual reminder to get vaccinations in preparation for the coming fall and winter months.
Seniors typically account for the majority of contracted preventable diseases. This is because they are the most at risk population for illnesses that that attack weak immune systems. However, CDC data shows that only 66% or two-thirds of seniors are actually immunized against the flu, and only 60% are immunized against pneumonia. This means that many of the deaths and hospitalizations related to these diseases could have been prevented with proper vaccinations. The importance of preventative medicine can’t be stressed enough in the senior population. Avoiding illnesses that are preventable can extend seniors' longevity and keep their health intact for longer.
The CDC has released an easy-to-read list, split by impairments and age groups, to help seniors identify exactly which vaccines they should be getting this year. It can be accessed here, or referenced below in our quick cheat sheet for senior vaccinations. And schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your specific health circumstances.
Seniors Should Get These Vaccines:
|Influenza||You should get the flu vaccine every year.|
|Tdap||You should get the Tdap vaccine renewed every 10 years, starting immediately.|
|Shingles RSV||You should get this initial shingles vaccine at age 50.|
|Shingles ZVL||This shingles vaccine should follow up your initial vaccine at age 60.|
|Pneumonia||It is incredibly important to receive both pneumonia vaccines once you are age 65+.|
|Meningitis||Meningitis vaccines are primarily based on your overall health, doctor consultation is needed.|
|Chickenpox||You should get this vaccine if you didn’t receive it as a child. If you were immunized as a child you can safely disregard it.|
|Hepatitis A||Hepatitis A and B vaccines are only required under specific health circumstances, your doctor will let you know if|
|Hepatitis B||See Hepatitis A.|
|HPV||You should get the HPV vaccine if you suffer from heart, lung, liver, spleen, or kidney issues.|
|Measles||The MMR vaccination is important if you suffer from heart, spleen, or kidney issues.|
If you or a loved one would like help preparing for vaccinations, or you are interested in a consultation to help set up appointments and doctors’ visits, we can help. We refer qualified and compassionate care providers who can help with many different services to help prepare your loved one for flu season, including live-in care in Orlando. For more information about our services and coverage area, contact us directly to speak with a local Client Care Liaison.