Immunization of Seniors for Patients
UPDATED January 18, 2013: Among all laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations 51% were in adults 65 years and older. If you have not already received a flu shot, do so today. Find a flu vaccination near you by clicking here.
People ages 65 and older are at higher risk for complications from influenza (flu) such as pneumonia. These people are more likely to go to the hospital or die from flu-related complications. As adults age, their immune systems get weaker, making them more likely to catch infections and to have more serious disease.
The best way to prevent flu is getting the vaccine. People ages 65 years and older should get a yearly flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has specific information on flu for this group.
Seniors ages 65 years and older currently have two flu vaccines available to them. There is a regular flu vaccine as well as a stronger flu vaccine, called Fluzone High Dose. The stronger vaccine may provide greater protection for seniors, who are at increased risk of complications from the flu; however it may have more side effects. These side effects are generally mild and can include pain, redness or swelling at the injection-site, headache, muscle ache, and fever. Talk to your health care provider about which vaccine is best for you.
The AARPalso offers lots of information on many issues affecting adults and their families, including health and wellness.
Immunization of Seniors for Ob-Gyns
New! CDC Seasonal Influenza 2012-2013 Key Points for Seniors:
1. People age 65 and older are at high risk for serious flu complications and should get a yearly flu shot.
2. People 65 years and older have some of the highest rates of hospitalization and death as a result of influenza infection.
3. On average, nearly 90 percent of flu-related deaths occur among people 65 years and older, however, this pattern can change depending on what viruses are circulating. Vaccination is the best protection against influenza and influenza-related complications.
5. Pneumonia can be a serious complication of influenza infections.
a) Pneumococcal vaccine can be given at any time during the year and may be given at the same time as influenza vaccine.
b) During this influenza season, work with your health care provider to determine when you can get your pneumococcal and influenza vaccines. Adults who cannot remember if they’ve ever had pneumococcal vaccine should still be vaccinated.
o Medicare covers both flu and pneumonia vaccines with no co-pay or deductible.
6. People 65 years and older have two flu vaccines available to them: a regular flu shot and a flu shot designed specifically for people 65 years and older with a dose higher than regular flu vaccine.
a) Data from clinical trials comparing Fluzone® to Fluzone® High-Dose among people aged 65 years or older indicate that a stronger immune response (i.e. higher antibody levels) occurs after vaccination with Fluzone® High-Dose. Whether or not the improved immune response leads to greater protection against influenza disease after vaccination is not yet known. An ongoing study designed to determine the effectiveness of Fluzone® High-Dose in preventing illness from influenza compared to Fluzone® is expected to be completed in 2014-15.
b) The higher dose vaccine may result in more of the mild side effects that can occur with standard-strength seasonal vaccines. Mild side effects can include pain, redness or swelling at the injection-site, headache, muscle ache and fever
c) The CDC and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have not expressed a preference for either vaccine.
d) Talk to your doctor or nurse about the best option for you.
7. People 65 years of age and older should not get the nasal spray flu vaccine or the intradermal flu shot.
8. If you get sick with the flu, your doctor may recommend treatment with antiviral drugs. (See Antiviral Drugs messages)
A recent Cochrane review on influenza examines the best evidence–based interventions to increase influenza immunization in the elderly.
As always, flu viruses will circulate this season. People age 65 and older are at increased risk for complications from flu and should get a yearly flu shot. This season, people 65 years and older will have two flu vaccines available to them - a regular flu vaccine and a new flu vaccine with a higher dose which will result in a stronger immune response against flu. The higher dose vaccine may have more of the mild side effects that occur with the standard-strength seasonal vaccines. Mild side effects can include pain, redness or swelling at the injection-site, headache, muscle ache and fever.
Talk with your doctor about which type of seasonal flu vaccine is right for you.
Ask your doctor if you should get the higher dose flu vaccine.
Vaccination is the best protection for older adults against influenza and influenza-related complications.
People 65 years and older have some of the highest rates of hospitalization and death as a result of influenza infection. Pneumonia is a serious complication of influenza infections and causes more death among people age 65 and older than any other group.
CDC has specifc information on influenza (flu) for persons aged 65 and older.
AARP has extensive information on a range of issues affecting adults and their families, including health and wellness.