Up to five immunizations recommended for senior
By Optum New Mexico
It’s that time of year again – flu season, when both the medical community and the media talk a lot about the importance of getting the influenza vaccine. However, depending on a person’s age, existing medical conditions, predispositions to certain illness, travel plans, lifestyle, and other factors, there may be a number of additional immunizations you should consider getting this fall to protect against a variety of diseases and infections.
With more than 25 vaccinations available in the U.S. and at least five recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for ages 50 and older, it can be very confusing to figure out what to get and when. Below is general CDC guidance to help determine what may be best for you and your family, but it’s important to talk to your doctor about the vaccines you should safely receive based on your health or other factors.
If I’m at least 50 years old, what vaccines are recommended?
Adults of all ages need to keep their vaccinations up to date because immunity from some childhood vaccines can wear off over time. In addition, as we age, our immune systems tend to weaken, putting us at higher risk for certain diseases. This is why, in addition to an annual seasonal flu vaccine, the CDC also recommends older adults get vaccines, as indicated, for pneumonia; shingles; tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) and COVID-19.
For COVID-19 vaccines, staying up to date helps protect against serious illness, including hospitalization and death from the virus. In fact, the CDC recommends that given increases in deaths and hospitalizations associated with the BA.5 variant during the summer, everyone should stay up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccinations, including any additional recommended booster doses.
Are there other vaccines that I may be recommended for me?
Other important vaccinations may be recommended depending upon your health history, if you’ve had one of the following childhood diseases, or if you have a certain job, lifestyle, or health condition. These include: MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), meningococcal vaccination, chickenpox series, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis A. Talking with your doctor can help determine what is right for you.
Is there an easy way to determine what I should get now?
Yes. The CDC provides an Adult Vaccination Assessment Tool that can help you determine what vaccines you may need: https://www2.cdc.gov/nip/adultimmsched/. A visit to your health care provider is also advised.
If I decide I need multiple vaccines this fall, can I get them all at once?
In most cases, vaccines can be administered simultaneously without causing ill health effects or negating the impact of any of the vaccines. In fact, the CDC recommends people save time by getting routine vaccines during the same doctor visit.
What if I am planning an international trip?
Anyone planning to travel abroad should check with their medical provider and/or visit a travel medical clinic well in advance to find out what precautions you should take and what immunizations are needed based upon where you are headed. Some countries require certain immunizations for entry. In all cases, the CDC recommends making sure you are up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC also provides travel health information at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel.
Who should not be vaccinated?
There are adults who have specific health conditions, such as high risk for an allergic reaction or certain autoimmune diseases, who should not get certain vaccines or should wait to get them. Talk to your doctor to decide which vaccines are right for you and your family members.
What else can I do to keep illness at bay?
In addition to vaccines, there are things you should do year-round to help take care of yourself, the ones you love, and your community:
• Avoid close contact with others who are sick
• Stay at home if you are sick
• Cover your mouth or nose when sneezing or coughing
• Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly
• Talk to your doctor if you have health concerns
If you have any questions about vaccines, talk with your doctor.