Reasons why older people are skipping their vaccinations

old man bow one's head on his wife shoulderOver 65% of thepeople living in US get their annual flu shot. However, the percentage has recently dropped to 63. Every year, the estimated number of people getting hospitalized with the flu is somewhere at 220,000 according to the CDC. Between 50 and 70% of these people are seniors with ages over 65. Older adults cannot afford to get sick, and common health concerns such as the flu can greatly affect their overall wellbeing.

In 2014, nearly 61% of older people have got pneumococcal vaccines. These are meant to protect the body from infections that might cause meningitis and pneumonia. Basically, there’s no improvement; thus, meaning that millions of seniors out there are still vulnerable. Why aren’t people getting vaccinated? What are the main reasons for them to skip on such important health measures?

Increased health coverage for senior adults, yet no reaction

 Nearly 58% of seniors have gotten a tetanus shot over the past 10 years. However, only 14% has got the advised dose of the well-known Tdap vaccine; which protects against whooping cough and diphtheria as well. Grandparents need to take better care of themselves because they’re the ones that spend more time with grandkids that are too young to get any type of vaccine.

Why aren’t seniors getting vaccinated? One of the main causes is because they don’t have coverage. Even though the FDA has approved many of the above over 10 years ago, people are still ignorant. Some seniors don’t even know that they can get affordable healthcare. In 2014, only 31% of people over 65 had health insurance. The numbers have increased dramatically, although if people they don’t get informed, they can’t know how much these shots cost, or if they cost at all.

Missed opportunities

 Medical experts claim that vaccines are not part of the medical routine of older people. That may be one of the main reasons people don’t get vaccinated. However, when kids come in for a checkup, the first thing that the pediatrician recommends is a vaccine. Seniors often have more severe medical issues. Most specialists focus on other health concerns in the oncology or cardiology sector; almost no physician cares about common conditions, such as the flu.

It is important for older people and their caregivers to discuss more about the importance of vaccination. There are useful guidelines and even a quiz on the CDC website that provides lots of useful advice. For shingles, the most recent vaccine called Zostavax may reduce the risk of contracting a disease in seniors by nearly 50%. The problem is that the vaccine is short on supply, and things haven’t changed since 2012. Also, the increased price may also be an impediment, as not many seniors can afford it.

In a recent study, performed in the summer of this year, the statistics show that almost 40% of older people who asked for it couldn’t pay for it with their own money. Zostavax is covered by the Affordable Care Act only if the patient also has private health insurance. Many seniors don’t have that sort of coverage.

Effectiveness of vaccines on older people

As opposite to Zostavax, many specialists agree that Shingrix – a newcomer, is a lot better. Apparently, it can reduce the incidence of contracting shingles to 90%. But, the efficiency doesn’t seem to be lower in seniors like Zostavax. Shingrix comes with its fair share of side-effects. It demands a second dose after a few months from getting the first. Many people will forget about that aspect. Also, the manufacturing company hasn’t settled on a final price. However, if the vaccine gets approved by the FDA and the CDC recommends it, Shingrix may become extremely useful. But that will only happen if the people remember that they need a second shot.

Public health leaders are not very eager to find out what the FDA has planned. In 2017, an estimated number of 1 million people will get shingles in the US. The CDC doesn’t want to wait, and compels older adults to get vaccinated as soon as possible and avoid hospitalization. Some nursing homes, like Forest HC in England help with short-term recovery, but the bottom line is seniors need to take better care of them to avoid any unnecessary post-operative following their lack of immunity. They must become more aware that their bodies are vulnerable, and many are willing to do that if they can get more affordable health insurance.

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