7 Immunizations and Vaccines That Are Important for Senior Adults
Illinois residents have access to a Vax Verify Portal that provides individual immunization records. For senior adults, it's a convenient way to keep track of their vaccinations. Since the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends seven vaccines for anyone over the age of 65, having online access to those records makes it easy to ensure they are current on the following vaccines.
COVID-19 Vaccine for Senior Adults
All senior adults should have two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine 25 days apart. Six months after the initial two shots, every adult should receive a booster. A second booster, given six months after the first, is recommended for anyone over the age of 50. Doctors in the greater Chicago area encourage senior adults to get their second boosters as the BA5 variant continues to spread.
The Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are preferred. The two vaccines can be given interchangeably. Most likely, a COVID-19 vaccination will be required annually; however, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has not issued a recommendation.
Every adult should have an annual flu shot. The vaccine prepares the body to produce antibodies when the virus is detected. That's why it's crucial that anyone over the age of 50 receives a shot at least two weeks before the start of the flu season.
Adults over 65 should receive what is called a "high-dose" flu vaccine. The high-dose vaccine has four times the antigens as regular-dose flu shots and provides added protection through increased antibody production.
This vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (also called pertussis). Whooping cough is a serious respiratory disease, especially in newborns. Any senior who is around infants should receive the Tdap vaccine to prevent transmitting the disease to children.
Only one shot of the whooping cough vaccine is needed if the adult was inoculated against the disease as a child. If not, a Tdap booster should be given ten years after the first.
TD stands for tetanus and diphtheria. The TD vaccine is required every ten years. Adults who have been fully inoculated for pertussis or whooping cough do not need Tdap boosters. They should receive the TD vaccine instead.
Any adult who had chickenpox as a child has the virus that causes shingles. As the immune system weakens, the likelihood of the virus reactivating increases. The shingles vaccine protects against a possible outbreak. The CDC recommends two doses of the vaccine for anyone over the age of 50. The second shot should be given two to six months after the first.
Pneumococcal pneumonia is the most common pneumococcal disease, which is why the vaccine is often referred to as a "pneumonia" shot. All seniors over 65 should receive pneumococcal vaccination.
Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccinations are required even if you had the diseases as a child. Anyone born after 1957 should receive one dose of the MMR vaccine. If immunity to measles cannot be established, a second dose of the MMR vaccine should be given 28 days after the first.
Although Chicago has one of the highest MMR immunization rates, all seniors should check their records to ensure their shots are up-to-date. Several cases of measles were recorded in 2019, indicating that the virus exists within Cook County.
Whether it's checking vaccination records or helping with food preparation, Senior Helpers® of Evanston and northern Chicago meets the needs of senior adults looking for in-home care and companion services. Contact us today.