August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). It is observed annually to remind people of all ages, especially seniors, to be current on their vaccinations.
August: Vaccinations For Seniors
The CDC (Centers For Diseases Control) highly recommends that all age groups review their vaccination records this month and get up to date on vaccines they need. Senior citizens, especially those aged 65+, should update their vaccines and get their shots as necessary. In general, seniors are dealing with weakened immune systems, and thus more susceptible to illness.
Here are several vaccines that seniors should focus on and update:
The CDC recommends that all adults get vaccinated against pneumonia, especially senior citizens, aged 65 and older.
There are two types of vaccine, PCV13 and PPSV23, which are given in sequence.
Shingles is caused by reactivation of the chickenpox virus, and only occurs in those who have already had chickenpox.
Nearly one-third of all Americans develop shingles, and incredibly, 50% of those seniors over age 80 will develop it.
Shingles is not only painful, it is dangerous if left untreated, especially in those with weakened immune systems.
The Tdap vaccine immunizes against protects tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).
Seniors are especially susceptible to whooping cough and should get vaccinated, if not already done. Tdap is repeated once every 10 years.
Every year a debate rages as to whether or not one should get the flu vaccine. Some people hold that this vaccine makes the situation worse. For example, this past winter the flu vacccine was effective in only about 18% of recorded cases However, the CDC strongly recommends that all ages get vaccinated. This specifically holds true for senior citizens.
According to CDC statistics, 50-75% of all hospitalizations due to the flu occurred in those 65 and older.
A senior who avoids a flu vaccination increases their risk of getting the flu. Not only that, once hit with the flu, seniors are also at a greater risk of dying compared to the general population. Indeed, the CDC reports that between 70% to 85% of all flu-related deaths occur in the senior population.
It’s the lazy, hazy days of Summer, it’s quiet out there. No lines. So Go, Get vaccinated!