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August marks Immunization Awareness Month
Immunity to certain diseases can wear off over time, and as people get older, they are at an increased risk of contracting flu and other serious infections.

For older adults they could quickly become life-threatening. Vaccinations can be one of the best ways to protect against contracting and spreading disease.

Vaccinations may be especially recommended in particular for people with certain health conditions such as:

  • Kidney disease or poor kidney function
  • Asplenia
  • Heart Disease
  • Chronic Lung Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic Liver Disease
  • Weakened Immune System

Vaccinations to consider for seniors:

  1. Influenza (Flu): During recent flu seasons, between 80% and 90% of flu related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older. Flu vaccines recommended for those 65 and older include either the standard flu shot or the High-Dose- 4 times the amount of antigen in the vaccine to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu.  Studies show the high-dose vaccine was 24% more effective in preventing flu.
  2. Shingles (Herpes Zoster): People with weakened immune systems have an increased risk of developing shingles.  Shingles may lead to other serious complications causing vision loss, pneumonia, hearing problems, brain inflammation, or death. About half of all shingles cases occur 60 years of age and older. Anyone 60 years of age or older should get the shingles vaccine, regardless of whether they recall having had chickenpox, which is caused by the same virus as shingles. This is a one-time vaccination. Even if you have had shingles, you can still receive the shingles vaccine to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. In adults vaccinated at age 60 years or older, protection from the vaccine decreases within the first 5 years after vaccination. Therefore, if you receive the vaccine before age 60 years you might not be protected later in life when your risk for shingles and its complications are greatest.
  3. Td or Tdap: Td is a tetanus-diphtheria vaccine given as a booster shot every ten years, or after an exposure to tetanus under some circumstances. Tdap is similar to Td but also containing protection against pertussis and diphtheria. Tdap should be given as a one-time booster in place of Td.  For adults who haven't gotten Tdap yet, the easiest thing to do is to get Tdap instead of their next regular tetanus booster. The best way to prevent pertussis (whooping cough) among infants, children, teens, and adults is to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated against pertussis is especially important for families with new infants.
  4. Pneumococcal Vaccine: Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by a type of bacteria called pneumococcus. Pneumococcal disease is a leading cause of vaccine-preventable illness and death. Pneumococcus bacteria can be found in many people's noses and throats without causing disease and are spread by coughing, sneezing, or contact with respiratory secretions.  Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but those 65 and older are at greater risk than others. One dose of PCV13 is recommended for all adults 65 years of age or older who have not previously received the vaccine. A dose of PPSV23 should be given 6 to 12 months later.
  5. Hepatitis A: A contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter — even in microscopic amounts — from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces, or stool, of an infected person. The hepatitis A vaccine series may be started whenever a person is at risk of infection: Men who have sexual contact with other men, Users of certain illegal drugs, both injection and non-injection, International Travelers, People with chronic (lifelong) liver diseases, or People who are treated with clotting-factor concentrates. The hepatitis A vaccine is given as two shots, six months apart. The hepatitis A vaccine also comes in a combination form, containing both hepatitis A and B vaccine. This form is given as three shots.
  6. Hepatitis B: A contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Hepatitis B is spread by infected blood, semen, or other body fluid. Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for people with: Diabetes 60 years or older, Sexually active persons who are not in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship, End-stage renal disease, including dialysis patients, or Chronic liver disease. The hepatitis B vaccine is usually given as 3-4 shots over a 6-month period.
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