By Emily Shewmaker, Pharmacist and Founder of Vaccine Valet, Chevy Chase, Maryland
Why should your loved ones get vaccines, and what makes them so valuable to the health of older adults? With so much vaccine talk lately, questions like these have been on many people’s minds. It’s important that seniors and their families fully understand why vaccines are such an important part of healthy aging, as well as how and when they should be scheduling them.
Think of a vaccine as a personal trainer for your immune system. We hire personal trainers to assess, educate and create effective exercise programs that empower us to reach our health goals. Vaccines are similar in that they work by introducing the blueprint of a particular disease-causing agent, which our immune system then uses to recognize, minimize, and destroy potential exposures to that disease in the future. So, why should we get vaccines? To jumpstart our immune systems to be more efficient at eradicating these infections and viruses.
Many vaccines require subsequent boosters to help maintain the optimal level of protection needed. If the vaccine is like our personal trainer, then, these boosters are similar to the check-in’s we periodically have with our trainers to stay on course with our goals. These subsequent vaccine boosters are as important as receiving the initial inoculation, and the timing of them is key to sustaining the minimal response required to overcome the effects of preventable diseases.
So now that you know a little more about why you and your loved ones should be vaccinated, which specific vaccines are recommended for seniors? Below are the vaccines most often needed for those ages 50 and older. There may be additional vaccines suggested depending on lifestyle, vaccination history, or other illnesses that may shorten the time intervals of receiving a booster.
Recommended Vaccines for Seniors:
- Shingles: recommended for seniors age 50+; two doses 2-6 months apart
- Pneumonia: recommended for seniors 65+; need to be vaccinated again if received younger than age 64
- Tetanus: recommended for all seniors; booster is needed every 10 years
- Influenza: recommended for all seniors annually; the adjuvanted (Fluad®) and the high-dose (Fluzone® High-Dose) versions are formulated and approved specifically for those 65 and older.
We are quickly approaching the Fall and Winter seasons, the time of year when the influenza virus begins to circulate. As a preventative measure, the flu vaccine is highly recommended to mitigate the symptoms and severity of this virus. As we age, so do our immune systems – and they naturally begin to lose some of their strength in fighting off infection.
Vaccine Valet has formed a solid relationship with Family & Nursing Care over the years because we admire their expertise in providing quality, reliable in-hone care and support – our own loved ones actually clients! Vaccine Valet supports Family & Nursing Care clients and their families by offering vaccination services in the comfort of their own home. To request an in-home vaccine appointment for your loved one, contact your Caregiver. To learn more about Vaccine Valet, visit: www.vaccinevalet.com.