What Are the Recommended Vaccines for Caregivers?

CDC Vaccination Guidelines for Seniors

Influenza — When you’re caring for a senior, a flu shot should probably become an annual tradition. Unlike many vaccinations, the flu shot isn’t a one-and-done deal; each year the various strains of flu wax and wane, so every year the formulation of the vaccination is slightly different. The CDC recommends seniors receive this vaccine every single flu season. After all, like we said before, this vaccine significantly reduces the risk of hospitalization for seniors!


TDAP — “TDAP” stands for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (a.k.a. whooping cough). All three diseases can be incredibly painful or even deadly, which is why this vaccine made the CDC’s list of recommended vaccines for seniors. Unlike the flu shot, the TDAP vaccine is only needed once, but you’ll need a booster every 10 years or after an injury as it could result in exposure to the bacteria that causes these illnesses.


ShinglesShingles is a painful skin condition caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Approximately 99% of Americans born before 1980 have had chickenpox, so that means most of us may be at risk for shingles later in life. Your chances of getting shingles increase as you get older, which is why the CDC recommends that adults age 50 and older get vaccinated against shingles.


Pneumococcal Polysaccharide — This vaccine, also called PPSV23, is effective against 23 types of bacteria that can cause pneumococcal disease, which includes ear infections, sinus infections, meningitis, bacteremia (a bloodstream infection) and pneumonia. Most people need only one dose of this vaccine; however, a second dose and/or another type of pneumococcal vaccine called PCV13 are recommended for certain high-risk groups.


What About COVID-19?

At the time of this writing, there is no vaccination available for 2020’s novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Several possible vaccines are being developed, but it is unclear when, if ever, a vaccine will be available to the public. Fortunately, we are learning more and more every day about precautions we can take to help limit exposure to this new virus. The CDC has published guidance that could help avoid infection even among seniors, who are among the demographics at highest risk.

Until a vaccine is developed or we reach a point of community immunity, consider covering your mouth and nose in public, use personal protective equipment like gloves and masks if you’re exposed to someone infected with COVID-19, and limit face-to-face contact with people who aren’t part of your immediate household. Of course, this is good advice for avoiding all kinds of illnesses. Additionally, be sure to follow any specific local and state laws, restrictions and/or other guidance regarding COVID-19.

And don’t forget to get your flu shot!


Note: The preceding article is shared for informational purposes only. We are not infectious disease experts and you should consult with trusted, independent, reputable sources before acting on any content on this website, especially if you have a medical condition or are at increased risk for contracting COVID-19. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or health advice. Never disregard professional medical or health advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site.

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