Weekly Tips & Insights

3 Things Seniors Should Know About Immunizations

Updated: Sep 13, 2019

August is National Immunization Month, but it's important to get vaccinated to stay healthy all year round. Here's some information seniors should be aware of as they make plans to get vaccinated:


Seniors are particularly at risk without vaccination…

Though the highly discussed topic of immunization often revolves around children, seniors are among one of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to serious disease. Due to having immune systems that have weakened with age, seniors tend to have a more difficult time fighting off diseases and infections. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that over 60 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations occur in people 65 years and older. Though children and seniors should both protect themselves against influenza with immunization, there are vaccines that are specially created for seniors aged 65 and older. To learn more, seniors should contact their primary care physician.


There are specific vaccines seniors should get…

Fortunately, there are vaccinations that can protect seniors from preventable illnesses and the hospitalizations or fatalities that can come with them. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are certain vaccinations that healthy older adults should get to prevent serious diseases, such as:

  • Influenza

  • Pneumococcal disease - (aged 65 and older)

  • Shingles - (aged 50 and older)

  • Hepatitis B

Depending on a senior’s health condition, they may need to skip one or more of these vaccines to avoid interactions with other medications or conditions. Seniors should check with their primary care physicians to determine what vaccines they need.


Vaccines may be covered by Medicare…

Often times, seniors may avoid getting the medical treatments they need in order to save money, but when it comes to health, seniors can’t afford the consequences of neglecting their health. Fortunately, many of the vaccines seniors need may be covered by Medicare.


Flu Shot

  • Medicare Part B - cost-free benefit

  • Medicare Advantage - patient may have to use an in-network physician or pharmacy

  • Medicare (original) - physician/healthcare provider must accept Medicare assignment

Pneumococcal vaccine

  • Medicare Part B - cost-free benefit

  • Medicare Advantage - patient may have to use an in-network physician or pharmacy

  • Medicare (original) - physician/healthcare provider must accept Medicare assignment

Shingles

Some parts of Medicare plans may cover the shingles vaccine, such as Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage, however there is typically an out-of-pocket cost in the form of a copayment or coinsurance. The lowest out of pocket cost will be through in-network physicians or healthcare providers. Seniors should contact their insurance companies to find out what is covered under their specific plan.


Hepatitis B

Medicare Part B - cost-free benefit IF physician determines at least a medium risk of patient contracting the virus, and the administering physician or healthcare provider accepts Medicare assignment.


These are just a few of the many things about immunizations that seniors should be aware of. View our upcoming vaccination clinics here.




Sources:

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

National Council on Aging: My Medicare Matters

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