Immunizations not only help your body fight off disease, they help prevent you from spreading them. Though many people associate immunizations with children, as you age many vaccinations wear off and you may need new or booster shots. Based on your age, health condition and other factors (such as your job or where you travel), you and your healthcare provider can determine which vaccinations are best for you.
Adults should get the influenza (flu) vaccine every year to reduce the risk of getting influenza and spreading to others. Though getting the flu vaccine will not guarantee that you will not contract influenza, evidence suggest that people who have received the influenza vaccination, have less serious symptoms and are less likely to die from influenza infections than those who did not receive the vaccination.
Zoster (Shingles) Vaccination
Zoster (Shingles) vaccine help to prevent shingles and the pain that may remain after the rash goes away. Shingles can lead to complications of the eyes, swelling of the brain and other medical conditions. Two different Zoster vaccinations are available; Shingrix which is recommended by the CDC as the preferred vaccination for healthy adults over 50 and Zostavax which may be used to prevent shingles in healthy adults over 60. Discuss with your healthcare provider which one is appropriate for you.
Pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccines help prevent serious and even life-threatening infections of the lungs, blood and covering of the brain. Adults 65 and over require a two-part pneumococcal vaccination which includes: Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) and Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23).
There may be other immunizations you need that are not listed. As a person ages, their immune system weakens, placing them at a higher risk for some diseases. Talk with your healthcare provider at your next appointment to determine what vaccines are recommended for you.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month
To help identify resources and to assist with messaging, be sure to access the 2018 National Immunization Awareness Toolkit. The toolkit will help you devise a plan to promote the importance of immunizations with your staff, patients and family members. The 2018 edition of the toolkit contains key messages, vaccine information, sample news releases and articles, sample social media messages, links to web resources from CDC and other organizations, and logos, web banners, posters and graphics to use with social media. It also includes a media outreach toolkit and a place for you to share your #NIAM activities.
Great Plains QIN is actively working with providers, patients, partners and stakeholders to implement best practices to increase immunization rates for influenza, pneumococcal disease and herpes zoster. Together, we play an important role in helping to educate patients about immunization recommendations. Visit our Web site to learn more, get connected by joining the Learning and Action Network and access resources and tools.