Why Are Vaccines Important For Seniors
As you get older, your immune system stops working as well. This is a process that we dont fully understand. We call it immune senescence.
In addition to a weakened immune system, older adults are more likely to have chronic illnesses like heart disease, lung disease, or liver disease. Having one or more chronic illnesses also puts you at increased risk of having problems if you develop an infection.
Vaccines are our best tool to prevent infection, and preventing an infection in a senior who is at high risk of getting very sick from an illness can save their life. This is why vaccines are so important for seniors.
Vaccines Seniors Dont Need
One of the benefits of being a senior is that you dont need some of the vaccines that your younger counterparts will need. Morgan Katz, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, tells AARP, anyone born before 1957 wouldnt need a measles vaccine because the disease was so prevalent when they grew up that immunity as an adult is assumed.
Most seniors have also been exposed to the chickenpox virus and wont need the chickenpox vaccine. However, dont forget the shingles vaccine. After a chickenpox infection, the virus lays dormant in your nerves and can rear its ugly head later in life with a painful rash we call shingles.
Immunizations For Older Adults
Doug Campos-Outcalt, MD, Medical Director, Mercy Care Plan, Phoenix, AZ
|TIPS ABOUT VACCINES FOR OLDER ADULTS
Vaccines are among the most successful public health interventions, saving millions of lives and preventing millions of disabilities. While most vaccines are targeted at children and young adults, there are five recommended for routine use in adults aged 65 and older: influenza vaccine, two types of pneumococcal vaccine, herpes zoster vaccine, and a vaccine against tetanus and diphtheria. The latter includes the addition of pertussis protection in a vaccine that combines tetanus toxoid, diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis . This issue of Elder Care will discuss these five vaccines.
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What Has Moderna Said About Another Booster Shot To Protect Against Omicron
Like Pfizer, Moderna said it’s testing the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine, SpikeVax, against omicron. The company has offered little specifics but said a variant-specific shot could be available in early 2022.
Moderna President Stephen Hoge said we’ll most likely need annual COVID boosters, much like we do with the flu, at least to protect against the highest risk of infection and serious illness. Moderna is working on omicron-specific boosters, Hoge told Reuters, but realistically they won’t be on the market “before March and maybe more in the second quarter.” Its current booster is a 50-microgram dose, and while the company has also reported a 100-microgram dose of Spikevax has proven exponentially effective against omicron, it does not plan to seek approval from the FDA for the double-dose.
What Are The 5 Most Important Vaccines For Seniors
The winter months are fast approaching. The warmth of fires, the smell of delicious dinners, and the time spent with family and friends are all a welcome part of the cooler months. However, the cooler months are also marked by flu season. Not only will festivities be running rampant but also a myriad of illnesses.
According to studies, cooler weather means a natural weakening of the immune system. Combined with an increase in the hardiness of viruses and bacteria, this time of year spells disaster for those who are higher at risk for getting sick like seniors. Seniors inherently have a weakened immune system due to the natural aging process, which can make winters even more dangerous for this age group. Thankfully, there are vaccines available to help protect your loved ones from contracting illnesses and developing very serious side effects. Here are the 5 most important vaccines for your senior loved one.
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Path To Improved Health
Pneumococcal vaccines can protect you against getting pneumonia, which is contagious and spreads from close, person-to-person contact. Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs and can lead to many symptoms, including:
- chest pains
- bringing up mucus when you cough
For seniors, pneumonia can be very serious and life-threatening. This is especially true if you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or COPD. Pneumonia can also develop after youve had a case of the flu or a respiratory virus such as COVID-19. It is extremely important to stay current on flu shots each year in addition to your pneumococcal vaccines.
While PPSV23 and PCV13 do not protect against all types of pneumonia, they can make it less likely that you will experience severe and possibly life-threatening complications from the illness.
The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that seniors who have not had either pneumococcal vaccine should get a dose of PCV13 first, and then a dose of PPSV23 6-12 months later. The vaccines cannot be given at the same time. If you have recently had a dose of PPSV23, your doctor will wait at least one year to give you PCV13.
Vaccines Help Maintain Your Health
Vaccines have minimal risks and are generally very safe. Even healthy people need vaccines. Ask your health care provider about these vaccines at your next appointment to determine what is best for your preventative health.
Michelle Twombly, CNP, is a certified nurse practitioner at UH Family Medicine Center in Strongsville.
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Vaccines For Adults And Seniors
The National Immunisation Program schedule provides free vaccinations for adults and seniors. You may need booster doses of some vaccines to maintain high levels of protection. Most vaccines are more effective if delivered at a specific age.
The following vaccines are provided free to adults and seniors aged 65 years and over:
The Coronavirus Pandemic: Key Things To Know
The virus in the U.S.President Biden said that he would extend the national emergency first declared in March 2020 in response to the pandemic, which was set to expire on March 1. The decision comes as an Omicron wave recedes, though it now accounts for more deaths than Deltas did.
In New York.The New York health commissioner announced that the state would not enforce a booster-shot requirement for health care workers set to take effect on Feb. 21. Too many workers were refusing to comply, leading to worries that the health care system would be disrupted with a mandate in place.
Around the world.Hong Kong said it would postpone the election of its next leader so that it could focus on containing a surge driven by Omicron. South Korea, where the variant shows no sign of peaking, reported 100,000 new daily coronavirus cases for the first time on Feb. 18, topping that threshold again the following day.
Dr. Marks said it may turn out that the best time for an additional shot is this fall, when the spread of the coronavirus is expected to pick up again. Barring any surprises from new variants, maybe the best thing is to think about our booster strategy in conjunction with the influenza vaccine next fall, and get as many people as possible boosted then, he said.
Dr. Ransone said some of his patients would prefer that, so they can get their immunizations in a single visit.
Kitty Bennett contributed research.
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Where Can I Get My Immunizations
Vaccines may be available at pharmacies, private medical offices, workplaces, community health clinics, health departments, or other community locations, such as schools and religious centers. Ask your primary healthcare provider for a referral if they do not stock all the recommended vaccines.
Federally funded health centers can provide services if you don’t have health insurance or a regular source of healthcare. You pay what you can afford based on your income. Find a health center near you.
There is also an online vaccine finder tool to learn more about where to get vaccines in your community. Simply type in your ZIP code for a list of nearby locations.
If you want help over the phone, call the Help Me Grow WA Hotline toll free at 1-800-322-2588. You will talk with a friendly, local and informed representative who can help you find a place to get vaccinations.
What Vaccinations Does My Adult Dog Need
Veterinary science, in conjunction with industry, has done a great job developing vaccines that are very safe and effective preventive measures. Vaccines keep your dog protected from serious infectious diseases. Diseases that, just a few years ago, were epidemics are now less common. It’s not just a matter of more vaccines but also better vaccines that are more specific, provide longer protection, and allow your veterinarian to make recommendations appropriate for your pet.
Not all dogs need to be vaccinated for all diseases all the time. There are two general groupings of vaccinations: those that target core diseases and those that target non-core diseases. Core vaccinationsCore vaccinations prevent diseases that are extremely widespread in their distribution and are easily transmitted. These diseases are commonly fatal or extremely difficult to treat effectively. One core diseaserabies, can be transmitted to humans with potentially deadly results. In summary, core diseases are the more contagious and severe diseases.
Core vaccines provide long term immunity, making yearly vaccination unnecessary. Core vaccines include:
These vaccines generally provide a shorter length of protective immunity, and dogs that are at risk for infection should be vaccinated every year.
How can you determine your dogs risk of infection?
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Recommended Vaccines For Healthcare Workers
Healthcare workers are at risk for exposure to serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases. If you work directly with patients or handle material that could spread infection, you should get appropriate vaccines to reduce the chance that you will get or spread vaccine-preventable diseases. Protect yourself, your patients, and your family members. Make sure you are up-to-date with recommended vaccines.
Healthcare workers include physicians, nurses, emergency medical personnel, dental professionals and students, medical and nursing students, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, hospital volunteers, and administrative staff.
Four Vaccines Every Adult Ages 50
Many people tend to think of vaccines as something children get at their regular check-ups. But the truth is, patients of all ages need to keep up on their vaccines to make sure theyre protected against infections that can cause significant complications. Since our immune systems weaken as we get older, its especially important for adults over age 50 to stay current on their immunizations.
Here are four key vaccines that adults ages 50-65 should have to stay as healthy as possible.
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Where To Find The Vaccine
You can access the COVID-19 vaccine at multiple locations statewide. Providers include pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, doctors offices, community vaccination sites, and local health departments. Most providers are accepting appointments as well as walk-in visits. There is plenty of vaccine available. You should not have any out-of-pocket costs for the vaccine.
The state’s COVID-19 information line, 1-833-427-5634, can help individuals find vaccine providers in their communities.
If you or a loved one are unable to travel to a vaccination provider site, please contact your area agency on aging for assistance. Call 1-866-243-5678 to be connected to the agency serving your community or find local contact information.
For more information, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine.
Tetanus Diphtheria And Pertussis
The tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine combined is recommended if you have not received a tetanus shot in the last 10 years or have only had the tetanus and diphtheria combined vaccine and not the Tdap in the past.
Tetanus is caused by a bacteria in soil, dirt and manure and can impair the nervous system. Diphtheria is caused by a bacteria that attaches to the lining of the respiratory system, which causes difficulty breathing and swallowing and can get into the bloodstream and damage the heart, kidneys and nerves. Pertussis can be a very serious disease, especially for vulnerable populations, such as infants, young children and older adults. Pertussis causes coughing fits due to the bacteria attaching to the lining of the upper respiratory system.
The vaccine is greater than 95 percent effective in preventing tetanus and diphtheria and 70 percent effective in preventing pertussis. You can get this vaccine from your health care provider.
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Why Vaccines Are Important For You
- Diabetes, even if well managed, can make it harder for your immune system to fight infections, so you may be at risk for more serious complications from an illness compared to people without diabetes.
- Some illnesses, like influenza, can raise your blood glucose to dangerously high levels.
- People with diabetes have higher rates of hepatitis B than the rest of the population. Outbreaks of hepatitis B associated with blood glucose monitoring procedures have happened among people with diabetes.
- People with diabetes are at increased risk for death from pneumonia , bacteremia and meningitis .
Answer a few questions to find out which vaccines you may need. Take your customized printout to your next medical appointment.
There may be other vaccines recommended for you based on your lifestyle, travel habits, and other factors. Talk to your healthcare professional about which vaccines are right for you.
Will Everyone Be Eligible For A Fourth Covid Vaccine Dose
Scientists in Germany, the UK and other countries are considering fourth shots of a COVID-19 vaccine for the general public. On Friday, health ministers in European Union countries were told to prepare for fourth doses as soon as data indicates they are needed, according to Reuters.
At the start of the year, Israel started offering fourth booster shots to citizens 60 and older, and Denmark recently authorized fourth doses for vulnerable people.
The omicron variant is changing the definition of full vaccine protection, Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, which makes a vaccine in partnership with Pfizer, said in a statement. “With the data now coming for the omicron variant, it is very clear our vaccine for the omicron variant should be a three-dose vaccine.”
If three doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are needed to protect against omicron, the timeline for a fourth shot could be pushed up to as early as March, Pfizer executives said.
“I think it is very likely that we will need a fourth booster, possibly already this spring, particularly if omicron continues to dominate,” Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer, told CBS News.
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Are Pfizer And Biontech Creating A New Booster For Omicron
Executives said the companies are gathering data on the effectiveness of Pfizer-BioNTech’s current vaccine, Comirnaty, against the fast-spreading variant and, in parallel, experimenting with an omicron-specific vaccine. that could be ready by March, pending regulatory approval. They’re also looking at a multivariate vaccine that could protect against other strains, such the original alpha variant and more virulent delta strain.
Older Adults Still Need Their Shots For The Flu Shingles And More
As we age, the immune system slows down, chronic conditions become more common, and the body may be less able to fight off infection and more vulnerable to its complications.
Thats where vaccines come in. These immunity boosters help prevent serious diseases at any age.
Vaccines are not only for kids or teens, says David Kim, M.D., director of the division of vaccines and immunization at the Department of Health and Human Services. If youre older, youre at a higher risk for certain vaccine-preventable diseases.
Here are the shots you may need, when to get them, and why theyre critical for keeping you and your loved ones healthy.
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Talk To Your Doctor About Your Immunizations
It’s important to sit down with your doctor and open the conversation about vaccinations to customize an immunization schedule that is best for you.
While the pneumonia vaccine is generally recommended for people over age 65, some younger people might need this vaccine because of a medical condition or situation or, if you have potential exposure to hepatitis A or B like health care workers, this vaccine might be recommended.
Talk to your doctor who can assess your risk for diseases and help you to determine what is best for your preventive health.
What Are The Most Important Shots That Senior Citizens Should Get
There are several vaccines that are recommended for seniors. All of them are important and recommended for good reasons. The most important vaccines are the ones that have the best chance at preventing serious illness and death. This can change with new treatments and infection patterns. Right now, the COVID-19 and flu vaccines should be prioritized since they have the best chance of preventing serious illness and saving your life.
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