Q: As I plan to get my vaccination for COVID, several of my friends have been chatting on Zoom about other vaccinations we should be getting.
We have seen commercials on television and are a little confused about what is recommended for those of us in the 70-plus age group. Can you help clarify this for us?
A: As we reach the “golden” years, there are several vaccinations the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highly recommends.
Older adults should annually have a discussion with their primary physician to make sure their medical records are updated with their vaccination history and to determine if there are any other vaccinations they need.
According to the CDC, the seasonal flu vaccine is a priority for most adults. It is estimated there are 40,000 deaths each year due to influenza, the majority being aged individuals. Every 10 years it is recommended older adults should get a booster TD vaccination (tetanus, diphtheria). If someone didn’t receive the TDAP vaccination (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) as a child, health care providers recommend it is done as an adult.
The shingles vaccine is recommended for healthy adults age 50 or older. Anyone who has had shingles can tell you the pain and itching can be unbearable.
Additionally, there is more than one pneumococcal vaccine, and your physician would be able to determine which one would be appropriate for you. The incidence and mortality from pneumonia increase with advanced age.
Unfortunately, the percentage of older adults who have received this vaccination is far too low.
It is important to note that adults with pre-existing medical conditions may not be eligible for all these vaccines, so talk to your doctor as vaccinations are a personal choice.
Finally, for those who have questions or need assistance getting the COVID vaccine, please contact our agency at 1-800-892-0890. You can find more information at mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine.
Are you struggling to care for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at www.ESMV.org for more information. You can also call us at 1-800-892-0890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore.