Immunizations are important for all ages to maintain optimal health. As people age, immune systems becomes less efficient and more prone to diseases.
The following is a list of recommended vaccines for older adults. Check with your primary provider to discuss vaccine recommendations.
Pneumococcal (Prevnar® 13/PCV 13® or Pneumovax/PPSV23) Vaccines:
Pneumococcal bacteria can cause many types of illnesses, some of which can be life threatening. Both vaccines provide protection against illnesses like meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord) and bacteremia (blood infection). Adults should get one dose of PCV13 and at least one dose of PPSV23 depending on age and health condition.
Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. Adults aged 65 years and older are among those groups of people who are at high risk of serious flu complications. Flu can cause mild to severe illness, possibly requiring hospitalization and sometimes resulting in death. Most people ages 6 months and older should receive an annual influenza vaccine.
TDaP (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Acellular Pertussis) or TD (Tetanus, Diphtheria) Vaccine:
Tdap is similar to Td, but also contains protection against pertussis. Tdap should be given as a one-time booster in place of Td. Tdap is especially important for those in close contact with infants. Most adults should have a Tetanus vaccination every 10 years to ensure adequate protection.
Shingles (Varicella) Vaccine:
Shingles (Herpes Zoster) is a painful skin rash that develops on one side of the face or body. Shingles vaccine reduces the risk of developing shingles and the long-term pain that can follow. Two shingles vaccines are now available. The older version, Zostavax, for age 60 and older; and Shingrix, a two dose series for age 50 and older. Because Shingrix has been shown to have better long-term protection, it is recommended to get Shingrix regardless of whether you have previously had Zostavax.
Most private health insurance companies cover the above vaccinations, but confirming coverage rates prior to your appointment is a good idea.
Medicare Part B currently covers in full influenza and both pneumonia vaccines. Various supplemental Medicare Part D plans may provide coverage as well, but verifying coverage before your vaccination is best.
For questions regarding your immunization status, contact your local medical provider or Fargo Cass Public Health at 701.241.1360.