Adults need vaccines, too
07/30/2013 - The Exponent Telegram
Vaccines help prevent dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases. This August, National Immunization Awareness Month, is the perfect time to remind family and friends to get caught up on their shots.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thousands of adults in the United States die each year from diseases that they could have been vaccinated against. Many adults remain unvaccinated because they are unaware or misinformed about the need for vaccines beyond childhood.
We all need immunizations (also called vaccines or shots) to help protect us from serious diseases. It’s important to know which shots you need and when to get them.
As we get older, our immune systems tend to weaken over time, putting us at higher risk of infectious diseases. When older adults get infected, they can have more severe illnesses than younger people. Vaccines can help boost the immune system to decrease the risk of older adults getting vaccine-preventable diseases.
Fortunately, all Medicare consumers are eligible for flu vaccines once a flu season in the fall or winter. A flu vaccine is necessary every year because flu viruses are always changing. It is recommended for adults over age 50, residents of long term care facilities, health care workers, those with chronic medical conditions, as well as certain others.
The pneumococcal vaccine is covered for all Medicare consumers, and can be administered at any time of the year. The vaccine is recommended for all those age 65 or older as well as those with chronic heart, lung, liver or kidney diseases, residents of long term care facilities and certain ethnic populations.
“People of all ages can get shots to protect themselves from disease and illness,” says Dr. Mark Stephens, Clinical Coordinator for the West Virginia Medical Institute (WVMI), the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for West Virginia. “Talk to your doctor or nurse to make sure that everyone in the family gets the shots they need.”
For more information on how Medicare can help to keep you healthy, please visit WVMI’s Web site at http://www.qiwv.org/Medicare-Consumers/Your-Health.aspx.
The West Virginia Medical Institute, the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for West Virginia, is committed to partnering with health care providers across the state to bring about widespread, significant improvements in the quality of care they deliver. The West Virginia Medical Institute strongly supports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services three-point aim of providing better health, better care and lower costs. To learn more about this non-profit organization, visit www.qiwv.org.