Tips for Seniors: Get Your Shots Before You Get Flu or Pneumonia

By Toni Lynn Davis MHA, CNHA, FACHCA

Senior Citizens are especially vulnerable to the flu and the added threat of pneumonia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that most everyone should get inoculated but identify seniors as they are at higher risk of developing serious flu related symptoms. The CDC notes that the flu causes the hospitalization of over 200,000 people and kills approximately 24,000 of which most are senior citizens.

1-Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before getting a flu or pneumonia shot.

2-Choose the best flu inoculation for you. These three are recommended for senior citizens.
• The Standard vaccination that protects against, H1N1 and H3N2 and the B virus.
• The Quadrivalent vaccine that protects against 4 strains, what is in the standard plus another strain of B virus.
• The High-dose shot designed for seniors with four times the amount of antigen.
Flu shots are provided free of charge at many grocery stores and pharmacies, and Medicare Part B beneficiaries cover the cost of the inoculation. Make sure you ask for the type of shot recommended by your healthcare provider.

3- Pneumonia Vaccines are recommended by the CDC for all seniors over 65 years old.
“If you haven’t yet received any pneumococcal vaccine you should get the Prevnar 13 first, followed by Pneumovax 23 six to 12 months later. But, if you’ve already been vaccinated with Pneumovax 23 you should get Prevnar 13 at least one year later.,” said Savy Senior author Jim Miller.

Check with your insurance provider for fee information for this vaccine.