Immunization reminders for seniors

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), which is a great time to highlight the importance of vaccines – especially for seniors.

At Hillcrest Healthcare, we provide our employees, patients and residents vaccine education as well as certain vaccinations at each of our communities. You should talk with your medical provider about the vaccines that are suitable for you, based on your age, lifestyle and health status.

Generally, vaccinations are recommended to protect against vaccine-preventable diseases, so you don’t have to endure a serious illness and to avoid the possibly spreading it to others – especially those among us who are vulnerable. Some of the diseases that are preventable by vaccines can have adverse long-term health issues, so being educated and taking the steps to stay on your recommended vaccine schedule is important.

Common adult vaccinations are administered for diseases such as flu, shingles and pneumonia. These are common diseases to which senior adults are more susceptible.

Seniors should get a flu shot every year by the end of October. Since it takes a couple of weeks for antibodies to develop, this time frame gives the best window of protection during the peak of flu season.

Those over age 50 should talk to their doctor about receiving the shingles vaccine. According to the CDC, the risk of complications from shingles increases significantly after age 60, and the vaccine can protect against getting the disease and against complications from having shingles. The vaccine is given in two doses and is even recommended for those who have had shingles in the past.

There also are important vaccines for pneumococcal diseases, such as pneumonia, meningitis and bloodstream infections that are recommended for certain groups – your doctor can make the recommendation that is right for you and provide the correct schedule based on your medical history.

The COVID-19 vaccine also is available as a critical tool to help slow and stop the pandemic. According to the CDC, the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, so the organization recommends that adults 65 years and older receive vaccines. You can learn more about it here.

August brings the importance of immunizations with reminders to stay on top of our vaccination schedule to remain healthy and avoid long-term effects of avoidable diseases. We encourage you to talk to your provider to find out what course of action is right for you.

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