Each year, thousands of older adults in the U.S. get sick from diseases that could be prevented by Vaccine recommendations to safeguard older adults. Some people are hospitalized, and some may even die.

Vaccines lower chances of getting sick by reducing vulnerability to certain diseases and accompanying complications. They also lower the chance of spreading certain diseases. Infants, older adults and people with weakened immune systems (such as those undergoing chemotherapy) are especially vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases.

Some vaccines wear off over time and require booster vaccines later in life. Factors that can put people at risk for contracting an illness include age, job, lifestyle, travel or health conditions. Here are some vaccinations commonly recommended for seniors:


INFLUENZA VACCINE is recommended every year between fall and spring to protect against seasonal flu. There are many different manufacturers of the influenza vaccine.

PNEUMOCOCCAL VACCINE is recommended to protect against serious pneumococcal diseases, such as pneumonia and bacteria in the blood. This is a childhood vaccine that is recommended again in adults older than 65. Younger adults with asthma, heart or lung disease, cochlear implants, kidney disease, liver disease, sickle cell disease, a weakened immune system, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, smokers, alcoholics or who lack a spleen also are recommended to have the pneumococcal vaccines.

There are twotypes of pneumococcal vaccines — Prevnar type 13 and Pneumovax type 23. It is recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) for all adults 65 or older to have a dose of type 13 Prevnar followed by type 23 Pneumovax one year later. Alternatively, if someone received one or more doses of type 23 vaccine, they are due for a dose of type 13 at least one year after they received the most recent dose of the type 23 pneumonia vaccine.

TDAP VACCINE protects against tetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). This is given in the childhood vaccine series and needs to be given again to adults to replace one of the every-10-years Td (tetanus and diphtheria) vaccines.

SHINGRIX VACCINE protects against shingles for those 50 or older. The new shingles vaccine is called Shingrix and contains two doses, two to six months apart. The previousl zoster shingles vaccine was a one-time dose. Shingles is a painful disease, and risk of contraction increases with age. About one out of three people in the U.S. will develop shingles in their lifetime if not vaccinated. Two doses of Shingrix vaccine are more than 90 percent effective in preventing shingles.

HEPATITIS B VACCINE protects against hepatitis B, a virus that affects the liver, may be chronic, and is transmitted through sex and transmission of blood that contains the virus. Those with diabetes, HIV/AIDS and healthcare workers are recommended to obtain the hepatitis B vaccine series.

HEPATITIS A VACCINE protects against hepatitis A, a virus that affects the liver — usually temporarily, unlike the hepatitis B and C viruses. It is obtained by eating foods infected with the hepatitis A virus. This vaccine is recommended for patients with blood clotting disorders, such as hemophilia.


MENINGOCOCCAL VACCINE protects against mengitis and is recommended for those with no spleen or a damaged spleen.

HIB VACCINE protects against H.Influenza B virus that may cause ear infections in young children and meningitis, blood stream infections and pneumonia in children and older adults.

These vaccines may be obtained at a local pharmacy, hospital, health department and in some physician offices. For more information about vaccine schedules or vaccine-preventable diseases, contact the CDC.gov website or talk to your primary care doctor.

Source: The Lewiston Tribune