The Top 5 Immunizations for Older Adults


To help raise awareness about disease prevention, vaccinations, and immunizations for older adults, August has been designated as National Immunization Awareness Month. While most people associate vaccinations with newborns and young children, receiving immunizations is a decision that older adults may want to consider as well.

As we age, our immune system weakens, making it more difficult for us to fend off illnesses, such as pneumonia or influenza (the flu). In fact, people aged 65 and older comprised 50 percent of all flu and pneumonia-related hospitalizations and 64 percent of all pneumonia and flu-related fatalities during the 2015-2016 flu season, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These statistics are staggering, considering that seniors aged 65 and older make up only 15 percent of the U.S. population.

When considering immunizations for older adults, the CDC recommends seniors receive several vaccinations, most of which are covered by private health insurance or Medicare Part B and D. Seniors considering immunization should ask their physician about receiving a vaccination for the following illnesses:

The Flu. Receiving a yearly vaccination is one way to prevent the flu in older adults. If someone over the age of 65 contracts influenza, a vaccine may help minimize the illnesses’ severity. Healthcare experts from the CDC suggest seniors who wish to receive the flu vaccination do so in October before the start of the influenza season.

Pneumonia. The pneumonia vaccine should be a top priority for older adults, according to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Each year, pneumonia claims the lives of nearly 50,000 adults over the age of 65 and is the leading cause of hospital stays for seniors in the U.S.

 Shingles. If you had chickenpox as a child, you’re susceptible to experiencing shingles, a nerve infection caused by the chickenpox virus. Shingles causes painful skin rashes and blisters that can take several weeks or months to heal, making the vaccine for the virus a top choice for many when considering immunizations for older adults.

 Hepatitis A and B. Vaccination for Hepatitis A and B, which are viruses that can cause life-threatening liver inflammation, is often recommended to seniors who are socially active, reside in assisted living facilities like Grand Oaks of Palm City, or have chronic health conditions such as liver or kidney disease.

Tetanus. The Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough) vaccine is a wise choice when considering immunizations for older adults, says the CDC, which recommends seniors receive a Tdap shot every ten years.

Receiving a vaccine for virus-born illnesses and other communicable diseases is a choice that older adults may want to consider for National Immunization Awareness Month. For more information, visit

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