Especially as you get older, it can feel like more and more of the factors that affect your health are out of your control. By getting recommended vaccines, you can take back some of that control and help prevent your risk of various diseases. Although there is always a small chance of a serious side effect, for most people, the effects from the disease are generally much worse than the risks of the vaccine. Below is a list of recommended vaccines for older adults.
- Your annual flu shot protects against annual influenza viruses, and it’s recommended for everyone, but especially for anyone over 65 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It is also recommended for nursing home residents and anyone with health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, asthma, lung disease, or HIV as well as caregivers for those individuals. It is not recommended for anyone who has had allergic reactions to flu shots in the past or anyone diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome within 6 weeks after a previous flu shot. It’s important to get a flu shot annually each fall as the flu mutates and changes often.
- The pneumococcal shot protects against pneumococcal bacteria which can cause pneumonia and blood and brain infections, and it’s recommended for anyone 65 years or older. Talk to your doctor about the best time to receive this vaccine and which version may be right for you.
- The tetanus/diphtheria shot protects against two bacterial infections that can be deadly. Another version of the shot, called the TDAP vaccine, protects against pertussis (whooping cough) in addition to tetanus and diphtheria. It’s recommended for everyone, especially those over 65, and it’s needed every 10 years.
- The shingles (Herpes Zoster) shot protects against the development of shingles and the development of chronic pain from shingles. It’s recommended for anyone over 50 years old regardless of whether or not they have had shingles previously. This vaccine requires you to have two doses, with the second dose to be given 2-6 months after the first.