Do Adults and Senior Still Need Vaccines?
Vaccines, or shots, are an important part of preventing many serious diseases. People often associate vaccinations with children, but older adults should get the same vaccines as children.
Vaccines are safe and effective ways to prevent certain infections that can lead to severe illness, hospitalization or death. The CDC recommends vaccines for older adults to help protect them from these illnesses.
Flu vaccination is important for all age groups, but it’s especially critical for adults and seniors. The vaccine protects against several types of influenza virus, including the strains that cause the most serious illness and hospitalizations each season.
Vaccines are updated each year to match the viruses that are in circulation. Immunity against the flu virus decreases over time, so annual vaccination is recommended to ensure protection against future infections.
There are several different types of flu vaccines available, including quadrivalent and high-dose. One type is made with an additive called an adjuvant, which triggers a stronger immune response in older adults.
Pneumococcal pneumonia is a serious bacterial infection that can be deadly. The disease is more common among older adults and people with certain health conditions.
The pneumococcal vaccines – PCV13 and PPSV23 – work well against this type of disease, but they cannot prevent all cases. Symptoms of this infection may include fever, chills, cough, and pleuritic pain.
Adults and seniors are at risk for pneumonia when they have a chronic medical condition such as asthma, diabetes, or lung disease. Other factors like smoking and alcohol use also increase the risk.
Vaccines work by making your immune system more likely to fight off bacteria. In addition, they can help protect against invasive diseases. These diseases can cause infections that spread to different parts of the body, including bloodstreams (bacteraemia). Symptoms of invasive pneumococcal disease include fever and headache. Treatment includes antibiotics. If you develop an infection, see your doctor right away. They may recommend oxygen therapy.
Shingrix is a vaccine that’s over 90 percent effective at preventing shingles and long-term nerve pain caused by shingles. The vaccine is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is available at pharmacies and physicians’ offices.
The vaccine works by helping your body create a strong response against the varicella-zoster virus that causes shingles. It’s given in a shot that’s injected into your upper arm.
People usually get a sore arm, redness and swelling at the place where they got the shot, and other side effects. These side effects typically go away on their own after 2 to 3 days.
In clinical trials, the most common side effects of Shingrix were pain and swelling at the injection site, fatigue, muscle pain, a headache, shivering, fever, or stomach pain. Some people had a reaction that prevented them from doing normal activities for a day or two.
The Tdap vaccine, containing tetanus and diphtheria toxoids with acellular pertussis, protects adults and senior citizens from the three diseases that are most likely to cause severe, life-threatening infections. It is one of the most important and effective vaccines available.
It is also a great way to prevent the shingles disease, which can cause a painful rash on the skin and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a debilitating nerve pain that is often worse on one side of your body.
Adults and seniors should get a Tdap booster dose every 10 years. They should also receive a Tdap dose if they have had a severe wound or burn.
Booster shots of Tdap and Td are recommended for people who received tetanus and diphtheria vaccines as adolescents, but did not get the combination of the two. They may be administered in any situation where only Td was previously recommended. They should be documented in the patient’s immunization record.