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The Importance of Vaccinations for Older Adults

August is National Immunization Awareness Month. It is particularly important that older adults get vaccinations to protect their health. In 2010, influenza and pneumonia were the seventh leading causes of death among people age 65 and older. Also, in 2010 more than 85 percent of flu and pneumonia deaths combined occurred among adults who were age 65 and older.i

The CDC offers several resources to help you determine which immunizations you need to protect yourself against vaccine-preventable diseases. Resources include a What Vaccines Do I Need? Quiz and a chart of recommended vaccines for adults. This chart includes descriptions of diseases with references to specific symptoms, the age group most affected and the vaccine that prevents the disease. For health professionals, CDC offers the Adults Immunization Scheduler, a downloadable tool that will help determine which vaccines are needed by an individual according to the Adult Immunization Schedule.

Woman using computerWhat do recent statistics reveal regarding how many older adults have received a vaccination for influenza? According to CDC data for 2010 the percentage of older adults who had received an influenza vaccination during the past 12 months was highest among individuals aged 65 years and over (63.6%). A lower percentage of persons aged 50 – 64 years had received an influenza vaccination (41%). Also, for adults aged 50 - 64 years, women were more likely than men to have received an influenza vaccination during the past 12 months.

Be sure to take steps to safeguard your health against vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccinations save lives.

Other Resources

AoA Flu E-Cards

Send an AoA e-card to encourage your friends and family to get their flu shots.

For More Information on Vaccinations

Vaccinations and Immunizations (CDC)

iS. Murphy, J. Xu, and K. Kochanek, “Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2010,” National Vital Statistics Reports 60 (4), January 11, 2012.