Flu season is upon us! It is so important for people 65 years and older to get vaccinated because they are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu. While flu seasons can vary in severity, during most seasons, people 65 years and older have the greatest weight of severe flu disease. In recent years, it’s estimated that roughly 70 to 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older. It is particularly important for Hispanic older adults, as historically, Hispanic adults were 30 percent less likely to have received the flu shot compared to non-Hispanic whites.
Flu shots are available at doctor’s offices, pharmacies, urgent care centers and other community clinics. Click here for a brochure from the CDC that contains important information about the flu vaccine and older adults.
In addition to receiving the flu shot at lower rates, Hispanic adults aged 65 and older were 40 percent less likely to have ever received the pneumonia shot, compared to non-Hispanic white adults of the same age group. In 2015, Hispanic adults were 40 percent less likely to be fully immunized against hepatitis, as compared to white adults.
While flu shots are important, there are additional vaccines that older adults should speak to their doctors about receiving. Vaccinations have reduced disease, disability, and death from a variety of infectious diseases. Vaccines not only provide individual protection for those persons who are vaccinated, they can also provide community protection by reducing the spread of disease within a population.
Talk to your doctor about the vaccines that best meet your individual health needs, and visit CDC.gov for important facts about vaccinations for older adults.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.