What preventive vaccines should I have if I am over 65?

One vaccine recommended for individuals over age 65 is pneumovax, which helps protect against 23 different types of pneumonia caused by bacteria. This is typically a one-time vaccination. The flu vaccine is recommended yearly and those over 65 years of age should receive the inactivated (killed) form of the vaccine by an intramuscular injection. Newer recommendations include a one-time booster of Tdap, which covers for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). This is particularly important for adults who are around young children. After receiving a one-time booster of Tdap, it's recommended that you receive a tetanus booster every 10 years. Those over 50 should receive the zoster vaccine to prevent against a shingles rash. If you have never had chicken pox before, it is also recommended that you be vaccinated against varicella (the virus that causes chicken pox). There are a variety of other vaccines that are recommended for adults who have other health conditions such as heart, liver or kidney disease. These should be discussed at well visits with your doctor, and may include additional vaccines against pneumonia, meningitis or hepatitis.

What can you do to maintain your health at age 65 or older? More than you might think! The following preventive vaccines provide one aspect of health maintenance:

  • Flu vaccine
  • Pneumonia vaccine
  • Tetanus vaccine
  • Shingles vaccine

Remember to always ask your doctor or other healthcare professional about the safety and appropriateness of any vaccine.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.