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Recommended Vaccinations for Older Adults

Older adults are especially vulnerable to certain diseases, such as influenza and pneumonia. In 2008 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that adults age 65 and older comprised 90 percent of deaths that occur every year from complications related to influenza and pneumonia. Vaccinations help older people protect themselves from getting influenza, pneumonia and other illnesses.

Which vaccinations should an older adult get to guard themselves against serious illnesses? According to the CDC older adults need vaccinations to protect themselves against the following diseases:

  • Seasonal Influenza (Also, anyone 6 months or older can benefit from a flu vaccine).
  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) (for adults up to 64 years, one lifetime dose)
  • Shingles (for adults 60 years and older)
  • Pneumococcal disease (for adults 65 years and older and adults with specific health conditions)

If you’re unsure whether or not you need an immunization, you can check the Adult Immunization Schedule available on the CDC website. This schedule is updated regularly so you can learn of new vaccines that are developed through this schedule. The most recent update to the schedule is shingles vaccine, which is for adults 60 years and older.

According to data available through CDC in 2009, 41% of adults aged 50 – 64 years had received an influenza vaccination. 67% of adults aged 65 years and over had received an influenza vaccination.What do recent statistics reveal regarding how many older adults have received a vaccination for influenza? According to CDC data for 2009 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 (66.7%). 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.

For More Information on Vaccinations

Vaccinations and Immunizations (CDC)

For More Information on Older Americans

A Profile of Older Americans
AoA Census Data and Population Estimates
Minority Aging
Aging Integrated Database