Vaccines to Consider After 50
Many people may assume only school-aged children need to receive their immunizations. However, it’s important to know that protection from many childhood vaccines can wear off over time. “As we get older, our immune system isn’t as efficient as it was in our younger years. This means we are at a higher risk of catching diseases like the flu and shingles, and also developing other complications from them. Those over the age of 50 need to be well aware of their immunization records. This can help protect you from getting and spreading these diseases,” says Richard Jordan MD, a PIH Health Internal Medicine physician.
Here are some vaccines you should consider getting:
Get your flu shot once a year. Since flu season typically begins in October and ends in March/April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting your flu shot early in October (it takes about two weeks after the vaccine is administered for the antibodies to develop in the body). Even though the flu sounds like a minor illness, in some cases it can lead to hospitalization or death with seniors being most vulnerable.
Pneumococcal vaccine (pneumonia)
The CDC recommends that healthy adults 65 years and older should be vaccinated against pneumococcal disease which can cause pneumonia. Two pneumococcal vaccines are needed but not at the same time. The doses are given a year apart.
Pneumococcal disease has been shown to kill more people in the U.S. each year than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined. This shows how important it is to have the vaccines administered.
Tdap vaccine and/or the Td booster
The vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. You need a Tdap vaccine only once, but a Td booster is recommended every 10 years. The vaccine is also important for people who have close contact with infants younger than 12 months since it protects them from whooping cough.
Shingles (herpes zoster) vaccine
Studies show that one out of every three people in the United States will develop shingles. Due to this, the CDC recommended that everyone 50 and older get the shingles vaccine. Currently, the CDC recommends getting the Shingrix vaccine in two doses spaced two to six months apart to prevent shingles.
Make sure to talk with your physician to receive the vaccines that are right for you.