October 2022

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Health Capsule

Vaccinations and Older Adults

When fall arrives, many of us know it’s time to get the annual flu, or influenza, shot. It’s also a good time to consider what other vaccines or boosters to get to protect your health.

Staying up to date on vaccines is especially important for older adults. Our immune system helps the body fight infection, but it gets weaker as we age. Vaccines help to strengthen the immune system.

Other vaccines that are important to older adults include COVID-19, pneumonia, shingles, and TDP (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis).

It’s best to get the flu vaccine by the end of October, so you’ll be protected when flu season starts. But it’s not too late to get the shot even a few months later. Certain flu vaccines are designed especially for people ages 65 and older.

Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines make it less likely you’ll get seriously ill or need to go to the hospital if infected with the virus. They also reduce the risk of getting the disease. New booster shots targeting the Omicron variants became available in fall 2022.

The pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for all adults ages 65 and older. It protects against serious infections like pneumonia. As for other vaccines, the TDP booster shot should be given every 10 years. And the shingles vaccine is safe and effective for healthy adults ages 50 and older.

Protect yourself by keeping your vaccines up to date. Talk with a health care provider about which ones you need and if they can be taken together. Learn more about vaccines for older adults.