Our body’s immune system tends to get weaker and weaker as we age. This means that it becomes harder and harder for our body to fight off disease and infections, even ones that are common. When we are young, getting a cold wasn’t a big deal and we could rely on our immune system to neutralize the virus. However, if a senior person leaves a cold unchecked, it could lead to dire consequences. This is why getting vaccinated for various diseases is important. Here are some recommended vaccinations that you should get if you are 60 years of age or older:
Flu Vaccine – Over sixty percent of flu-related hospital cases occur in Americans 60 years and older. This vaccine is specifically made for each strain of flu annually, meaning that the flu shot from last season will not be effective for this year’s flu strain.
Frequency – Once per year
Pneumococcal Vaccine – These are diseases that occur in the lungs and bloodstream. This vaccine is recommended for all seniors (aged 60 and above), as well as for younger adults who have chronic health conditions
Frequency – Once after the age of 65, every 5 years afterwards
Zoster Vaccine – About half a million Americans (60 years or older) contract shingles annually, and this vaccine protects against shingles. Recommended for adults aged 60 and above.
Frequency – Once after the age of 60
Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis Vaccine (Tdap) – This vaccine is recommended for individuals over the age of 64
Frequency – Once for the Tdap vaccine, Once every 10 years for the Td booster
Note that there are some specific people who should not get vaccinated due to various health conditions
Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for updated lists for all recommendations for adult vaccines. Since we all have different health conditions and medical histories, your doctor should be the first person you should talk to regarding vaccines for you. Some other immunizations that should be noted are those for measles, mumps, or chickenpox, etc.
As a last note, even though this may not be directly related to seniors, the Whooping Cough Vaccine should be considered if you are in close contact with children (specifically infants and babies). Pregnant women are especially recommended to have this vaccine, because the vaccine will cause your body to create protective antibodies, that will be passed to the child before birth.