Tips for Senior Immunizations for World Immunization Week
World Immunization Week is celebrated throughout the last week of April, and according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is intended “to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.” In a time when many people are hoping and praying that a vaccine will help cure and end COVID-19, it’s also important for seniors to remember and stay up to date on other immunizations that could be lifesaving.
Through this dedicated week, which is themed this year as “#VaccinesWork for All,” the WHO campaign aims to educate people on how vaccines, along with the people who develop, deliver and receive them, “are heroes by working to protect the health of everyone, everywhere.” There are specific vaccines that are recommended for seniors, typically ages 65 and over — but ages vary per vaccine. According to Consumer Reports (CR), the following are suggested immunizations that seniors should talk to their doctors about receiving:
Flu Shot — Consumer Reports recommends this immunization be administered to seniors on an annual basis, typically around October before flu season really sets in. This also allows the adequate time (approximately two weeks) for the shot to “fully kick in.”
PPSV23 — Known as the Pneumonia vaccine, CR suggests all adults receive this shot when they turn 65. There is an additional vaccine for added protection – the PVC13. However, the site suggests individuals speak with their doctors to determine whether or not they should get this one as well. The PPSV23 vaccine is 50 to 85 percent effective when it comes to preventing serious illness from pneumococcal bacteria, which can lead to pneumonia, meningitis and other diseases.
Shingrix — With 97 percent effectiveness at preventing shingles in people between the age or 50 and 69, and 91 percent effectiveness in preventing the disease in people age 70 and older, this vaccine can also protect against “postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a complication of shingles” that can cause extreme pain for months or even years after experiencing shingles according to Consumer Reports.
MMR — The “measles booster” prevents again measles, mumps and rubella, and while the CDC states that people born before 1957 are immune to measles, most adults only need one dose to be protected against these illnesses.
Fellowship Square encourages seniors — and people of all ages — to speak with their individual healthcare providers to create an immunization schedule based on their unique circumstances and needs. Since each senior’s health is different, it’s important to remember that there is not a “one-size-fits all” umbrella when it comes to immunizations — or any healthcare recommendation.