As people age, they become more susceptible to certain illnesses and infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a vaccination schedule for adults. This includes those aged 65 and older. This can help protect them from various illnesses.
This schedule is known as the Adult Immunization Schedule. Here are some of the vaccinations that seniors should receive.
Influenza (Flu) Vaccine
Seniors should receive the influenza vaccine every year. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can be serious, and even fatal, for people aged 65 and older. The best time to get the flu vaccine is right before the start of flu season. You can choose the influenza-inactivated (IIV4) or recombinant (RIV4) vaccine based on your age and health.
Speak to your primary care doctor to find out which vaccine is right for you. If you aren’t aware of the nearest primary care facility, you can search online for ‘primary care offices near me‘ to find the nearest location.
You can also read reviews of primary care doctors in your area to find the best fit for you. Moreover, you can book an appointment to get the influenza vaccine at your earliest convenience.
Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap or TD) Vaccine
Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis are all serious diseases. The Tdap vaccine protects against all three of these diseases. It is recommended for adults aged 65 and older who have not previously received the vaccine.
The recommended schedule is 1 dose of Tdap, then Td or Tdap every 10 years. The vaccine is also administered in special situations, like wound management. It is advised to consult a general care physician to check for the right dosage and frequency.
Varicella (VAR) Vaccine
Varicella is a virus that causes chickenpox. Chickenpox can be serious, especially for adults aged 65 and older. The varicella vaccine is recommended for adults who have not previously received the vaccine. Similarly, adults who have not had chickenpox must take this vaccine. The recommended schedule is 2 doses of the vaccine, given 4 weeks apart.
You also need a diagnosis or verification of the history of varicella or herpes zoster by a primary care doctor. You will also require laboratory evidence of immunity or disease to get the vaccine. If you need the vaccine, contact your primary care doctor to see if you are eligible for the varicella vaccine.
Zoster Recombinant (RZV) Vaccine
Zoster is a virus that causes shingles. This is a disease that can be painful and debilitating for adults aged 65 and older. The Zoster vaccine is recommended for adults aged 50 years and older who have not previously received the vaccine. The recommended schedule is 2 doses of the vaccine, given 2 to 6 months apart.
If you haven’t received the Zoster vaccine and want to get one, speak to a general care practitioner. They will provide you with the right advice regarding vaccination.
Pneumococcal (PCV15, PCV20, PPSV23) Vaccine
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Pneumococcal disease is a serious infection that can cause pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis. These can all be deadly, especially for seniors. Thus, the pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for adults aged 65 and older.
The recommended schedule is 1 dose of PCV15 or PCV20. If PCV15 is administered, it should be followed by 1 dose of PPSV23 at least one year later.
If you are unsure of which pneumococcal vaccine and schedule are right for you, consult your primary care doctor. They will be in the best position to advise you on the right vaccination schedule as per your health and age.
Hepatitis A (HepA) Vaccine
Hepatitis A is a serious liver infection. The hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for adults who have not previously received the vaccine and who are at risk for hepatitis A. The recommended schedule is 2 doses of the vaccine, given 6 to 18 months apart. It depends upon which vaccine is used.
Harvix is given 6 to 12 months apart, whereas, Vaqta is given 6 – 18 months apart. The vaccine can also be given in combination with the Hep B vaccine, Twinrix. There are three doses given over a 6-month period of time. The first dose is given at month 0, the second at weeks 2-4, and the third at months 3-5.
Determining the right hepatitis A vaccine schedule can be confusing. The best way to find out which one is right for you is to consult your primary health physician. They will be able to give you the most accurate and up-to-date advice.
Hepatitis B (HepB) Vaccine
Similar to hepatitis A, hepatitis B is a serious liver infection. The hepatitis B vaccine is given to adults who have not previously received the vaccine and who are at risk for hepatitis B. The recommended schedule is 2 doses of the Heplisav-B vaccine.
The primary health physician may also recommend an Engerix-B, Recombivax HB series of 3 dosages. A combination of Twinrix, as discussed above, is also another option. To know more, please consult your primary care doctor.
Meningococcal A, C, W, Y (MenACWY) Vaccine
Meningococcal disease is a serious infection that can cause meningitis and sepsis. These can both be deadly, especially for seniors. The meningococcal vaccine is recommended for adults aged 65 and older who have not previously received the vaccine. To prevent meningococcal disease, you will need 1 or 2 doses of the MenACWY vaccine.
In special conditions, you might even need a booster shot. These include if you are a smoker, have HIV/AIDS, have certain chronic medical conditions, or are receiving certain medications. If any of these apply to you, please consult a general care physician to see if you need a booster dose.
Meningococcal B (MenB) Vaccine
Similar to the MenACWY vaccine, the MenB vaccine is recommended for adults who have not previously received the vaccine. The recommended schedule is 2 or 3 doses, depending on the vaccine used and the indication for vaccination.
You might also need booster doses in special conditions, as discussed above. If you are unsure about whether or not you need a booster dose, please consult your primary care doctor.
Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib) Vaccine
The Hib vaccine is recommended for certain adults who have not previously received the vaccine. The vaccination schedule is 1 or 3 dosages, depending on the indication for vaccination.
We hope this article was informative and helped you understand the recommended adult immunization schedule. Remember, it is always best to consult a primary care physician before getting any vaccines. They will be able to give you the most accurate and up-to-date advice, as well as answer any questions you may have.