As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to remember that older adults are at a higher risk of severe illness and death from infectious diseases. However, COVID-19 is not the only illness that poses a threat to our elderly population. Many vaccine-preventable diseases, such as influenza, pneumonia, and shingles, can cause severe complications and even death in older adults.
Why Immunization is Crucial for Our Elderly Population
As we age, our immune systems weaken, making us more susceptible to infectious diseases. People over the age of 60 may have underlying health conditions that further compromise their immune systems. Immunization is a critical tool for protecting them from preventable diseases and improving their overall health and well-being.
Immunization helps prevent serious illnesses like influenza, pneumonia, and shingles, which can cause complications and even death. It can also reduce the need for hospitalization and other medical interventions, which can be costly and disruptive. Furthermore, immunization can help older adults stay healthy and active, allowing them to enjoy their golden years without the burden of illness.
Recommended Vaccines for Our Elderly Population
There are several vaccines that are recommended for people over the age of 60:
- Influenza Vaccine: The flu vaccine is recommended every year for all adults, but it is especially important for people over the age of 60. The flu can cause severe complications in older adults, and the vaccine can help prevent illness and reduce the risk of hospitalization.
- Pneumococcal Vaccine: The pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for all adults over the age of 65 and for younger adults with certain health conditions. It can help prevent pneumonia, meningitis, and other serious illnesses caused by the pneumococcus bacteria.
3. Shingles Vaccine: Shingles is a painful rash that can cause long-term nerve pain, and the vaccine can help prevent the disease and reduce the risk of complications.
4. Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis Vaccine: The Tdap vaccine is recommended for all adults, but it is especially important for older adults who may not have received a pertussis vaccine in many years. Pertussis (whooping cough) can be serious and even life-threatening for older adults.
5. COVID-19 Vaccine: The COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for all adults, but it is especially important for older adults who are at a higher risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. The vaccine can help prevent illness and reduce the spread of the virus in the community.
How to Get Immunized
Getting immunized is easy and convenient. Older adults can get vaccinated at their doctor’s clinic, hospital, pharmacy, or community health clinic. There are local health programs available for people who do not have insurance or cannot afford the cost of vaccines.
It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about which vaccines are recommended for you based on your age, health status, and other factors. Your healthcare provider can also answer any questions you may have about immunization and help you make an informed decision about getting vaccinated.
With their increased risk of severe illness and death, it is essential that we do everything we can to protect our senior population from vaccine-preventable diseases by staying up to date with the recommended vaccination. If you or your loved one is over the age of 60, talk to your healthcare provider about getting vaccinated and taking other steps to protect your health and well-being. With the right care and attention, it’s possible to enjoy a happy and healthy life well into your golden years.
About The Author
Dr. Coco is a highly-educated and well-qualified primary care physician who graduated from the University of the Philippines Baguio with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center. She completed her three-year residency training in Family Medicine at Brokenshire Medical Center. She passed her diplomate exams in Family Medicine, given by the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians in 2018.
Dr. Coco is dedicated to providing comprehensive and holistic care for her patients. She is a primary care physician who believes in delivering continuing comprehensive health care for all. To her, patients are not just a number as she takes time to analyse how she can improve their overall health every chance they can get.