Immunization Guidelines for Older Adults
A vaccine is a medication given to produce antibodies against a certain infection to prevent that infection from occurring. The vaccination program in the US has dramatically reduced the prevalence of once-common diseases, including
Why Get Vaccinated?
Older adults are particularly susceptible to some of the infections that can be prevented by vaccination. In fact, complications from
Another reason for getting recommended immunizations is to protect your family, friends, and others around you from becoming ill. Many vaccine-preventable infections can be spread from person to person, so getting vaccinated helps protect anyone who comes in contact with you from contracting these diseases.
If you are an older adult, you may need to get some or all of the following vaccines:
Like many diseases, the flu is usually mild in younger people, but can be life-threatening in older adults. Symptoms of the flu may include fever, chills, dry cough, sore throat, congestion, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue.
Since the flu virus changes all the time, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly
The CDC recommends that people age 65 and older get the
Tetanus and Diphtheria
Most people received a series of
People who have had chickenpox are protected from getting it again. But for adults who never had chickenpox, two doses of the
Older people are susceptible to getting shingles, as well as certain high-risk groups (eg, those with compromised immune systems). Severe complications include vision problems or blindness, pneumonia, brain inflammation, and hearing problems. The CDC now recommends that adults aged 60 and older get the shingles vaccine. Research is still being done to determine whether booster vaccines are necessary.
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)
While they were once very common diseases, measles, mumps, and
Everyone born in the US after 1957 should have received an MMR vaccine sometime after age one. People born before 1957 who have never had measles, mumps, or rubella should talk to their doctor about getting the vaccine.
In addition to the vaccines listed above, people who experience unexpected exposures to a virus, are traveling abroad, are employed in certain occupations, or who have certain medical conditions may need additional vaccines. Some people should not receive certain vaccines, either due to allergies or due to a medical condition. Talk with your doctor to see if you should be considered for any other vaccines.
Paying for Vaccines
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute on Aging
McCoy K. Influenza vaccine. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/thisTopic.php?marketID=15topicID=81. Updated February 2008. Accessed August 27, 2008.
Recommended adult immunization schedule. October 2007-September 2008. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/downloads/adult/07-08/adult-schedule.pdf. Accessed August 27, 2008.
Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule - United States, 2010. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm5901-Immunization.pdf. Updated January 2010. Accessed June 22, 2010.
Shots for safety. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.niapublications.org/agepages/shots.asp. Updated February 2008. Accessed August 27, 2008.
Vaccine-preventable childhood diseases. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nip/diseases/child-vpd.htm. Updated January 2007. Accessed August 27, 2008.
Why should older adults be immunized? 100% Immunization Campaign website. Available at: http://www.immunizeseniors.org/website/o1_why.htm. Accessed July 3, 2006.
Last reviewed June 2010 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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