Despite an elevated focus from the medical community on the need for immunizations for older adults, a sizable percent is still not heeding the information – making these older adults vulnerable for serious disease or even death. The truth is, 1 out of 3 adults over age 65 opted against receiving a flu shot this past year; 2 out of 3 skipped the recommended shingles vaccine; and almost half of all older adults are not up to date on tetanus immunizations, according to the CDC.
Infectious-disease specialist William Schaffner, M.D., points out, “As we get older, our immune system becomes much less robust, which means we’re not just at risk for getting diseases like the flu and shingles but of developing life-threatening consequences from them.”
According to the CDC immunization schedule, there are four principal vaccines that all seniors should receive – and now is the perfect time to make plans to take care of them just before flu season strikes.
- Influenza. Nearly 85% of deaths from influenza every year occur in those aged 65 and over. Obtaining the flu vaccine can aid in reducing the danger of death in seniors by nearly 60%. Seniors should get the vaccine created specifically for people 65 and up, which consists of 4 times as much antigen as vaccines for younger adults – addressing the needs of the weakened immune system that’s inherent to getting older.
- Pneumonia. Although pneumonia in and of itself is exceedingly dangerous, there are particular issues that seniors tend to be more susceptible to develop as well, including meningitis and blood infections. The CDC recommends two vaccines for the elderly to protect against pneumococcal disease, given a year apart – but as few as 18% of seniors have typically received both shots.
- Shingles. With a new shingles vaccine now available (Shingrix), it’s recommended that all older adults – even individuals previously vaccinated with the earlier version, Zostavax – get immunized. Two doses are required, given six months apart, and the resulting advantage is a better than 90% protection rate from the disease.
- TDaP. Safeguarding against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough), this vaccine is particularly vital for seniors spending time with babies under 12 months of age, because these diseases can be life-threatening in infants.
Although no vaccine is 100% effective, they are able to significantly reduce the possibility of contracting illness, and even if an illness such as the flu or shingles does occur, it’s commonly less serious for people who have been immunized.
Live Free Home Health Care’s professional caregivers are always available to provide transportation and accompaniment for senior loved ones to get vaccinations, and will aid in a number of other ways to ensure ideal health and wellbeing. Contact us at 603-217-0149 to learn more about our top-rated home care in Concord, NH and the surrounding communities, and to get started on enhancing quality of life for a senior you love!