Recommended vaccines for seniors
The Savvy SeniorApril 4, 2012 | 1,874 views | Post a comment
Dear Savvy Senior
What types of vaccinations are recommended for seniors? I know about flu shots, but what else is recommended and what’s covered by Medicare?
Cheap Shot Sally
Most people think that vaccinations are just for kids, but adults, especially seniors, need their shots too. Here’s a breakdown of what vaccines the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends for adults age 50 and older, and how they’re covered by Medicare.
•Influenza (flu): While you already know that seasonal flu shots are recommended to everyone age 50 and older, you may not know that seniors over 65 now have the option of getting a new high-potency flu vaccine instead of a regular flu shot. This vaccine -- known as the Fluzone High-Dose -- creates a stronger immune response for better protection. All annual flu shots are covered under Medicare Part B.
•Pneumococcal: Pneumonia causes more than 40,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, many of which could be prevented by the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. Everyone age 65 or older needs to get this one-time vaccination, as well as those under 65 who smoke or have chronic health conditions like asthma, lung and heart disease, diabetes, or a weakened immune system. This vaccination is also covered under Medicare Part B.
•Zoster (shingles): Recommended for everyone age 60 and older, shingles is a painful, blistering skin rash that affects more than 1 million Americans each year. All Medicare Part D prescription drug plans cover this one-time vaccination, but coverage amounts and reimbursement rules vary depending on where the shot is given. Be sure you check your plan. If you aren’t covered you can expect to pay between $150 and $250.
•Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis): A one-time dose of the Tdap vaccine which covers tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) is now recommended to all adults. If you’ve already had a Tdap shot, you should return to getting a tetanus-diphtheria (Td) booster shot every 10 years. Most private health and Medicare Part D plans cover these vaccinations, but if you have to pay, they cost between $20 and $100.
•MMR (measles, mumps and rubella): Anyone born during or after 1957 that is unsure about their immunization history should receive the MMR shot. A blood test can tell whether someone has had any of these diseases or has received the MMR vaccine, but a test costs approximately $100. If you’re unsure about your immunity, getting a booster shot is more cost-effective (around $50 and is usually covered by insurance) and isn’t harmful, even if you’re already immune.
•Hepatitis A: This is a two-dose series of shots recommended to adults age 50 and older that have chronic liver disease, a clotting-factor disorder, have same-sex male partners, illicit injectable drug use, or who have close contact with a hepatitis A-infected individual, or who travel to areas with a high incidence of hepatitis A. These shots cost anywhere from $60 to $300, but are covered by most health and Medicare prescription drug plans.
•Hepatitis B: This three-dose series is recommended to adults 50 and older who are on dialysis, have renal disease or liver disease, are sexually active with more than one partner, have a sexually transmitted disease, or HIV. These vaccinations are covered under Medicare Part B.
•Meningitis: Adults 55 and younger who have never been vaccinated, have had their spleen removed, have certain blood deficiencies, or plan to travel to parts of the world where meningitis is common, should receive the meningococcal conjugate vaccine. Adults 56 and older should receive the polysaccharide vaccine. Covered by most health and Medicare Part D plans, this shot will cost around $100 to $150 if you have to pay out-of-pocket.
To help you get a handle on which vaccines are appropriate for you, take the CDC “What Vaccines Do You Need?” quiz at www2.cdc.gov/nip/adultimmsched. Also, talk to your doctor during your next visit about what vaccinations you should get.
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC “Today” show and author of The Savvy Senior book. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
A creepy Halloween party appetizer (October 19, 2016)
Applying for Social Security (October 19, 2016)
Chili Cook-off to benefit Wilson County youth (October 19, 2016)
DRT joins Heritage Music Festival (October 19, 2016)
DRT to meet Oct. 24 in Kerrville (October 19, 2016)
Enjoy Harvest Festival in Marion (October 19, 2016)
Enter Pecan Bake Show (October 19, 2016)
Little Golden Books (October 19, 2016)
Make plans for Halloween fun and fall fests (October 19, 2016)
Meeting the needs of the community: St. Vincent de Paul (October 19, 2016)
R&B legend opens Carver season Oct. 29 (October 19, 2016)
Readers share their spooky tales, part two (October 19, 2016)
Road Runners plan Oct. 22 group run (October 19, 2016)
See country legends Oct. 22 (October 19, 2016)
Try your hand at square dancing (October 19, 2016)
Turn yard waste into gardener’s gold (October 19, 2016)
Baptist church to ring in 100 years (October 12, 2016)
Church plans Junk and Treasure Sale (October 12, 2016)
Comal Country Music Show is Oct. 18 (October 12, 2016)
Davy Crockett (October 12, 2016)
Enjoy fried chicken in Poth Oct. 23 (October 12, 2016)
Enjoy this flashy winter resident (October 12, 2016)
Join in the 2016 Rosary Crusade (October 12, 2016)
National Charity League plans celebration (October 12, 2016)
New program increases student knowledge of E-cigarette dangers (October 12, 2016)
Play bunco in La Vernia Oct. 22 (October 12, 2016)
Pondering a poignant letter from the past (October 12, 2016)
Save the date for Oct. 22 March for Life (October 12, 2016)
Should you redeem old savings bonds? (October 12, 2016)
Show Barn Cook-off approaching (October 12, 2016)
Sutherland Springs Old Town Day (October 12, 2016)
The business of aging grows more complex (October 12, 2016)
Try your luck at China Grove Lions Club Casino Night (October 12, 2016)
Atascosa County Craft Show seeks vendors (October 5, 2016)
Beautify your landscape with cacti (October 5, 2016)
Experience Oktoberfest in San Antonio (October 5, 2016)
Gilded peanuts and golden memories — recalling past Floresville Peanut Festivals (October 5, 2016)
Japan Fest set for Oct. 16 (October 5, 2016)
Meal service delivery options for seniors who don’t cook (October 5, 2016)
Oktoberfest comes to Floresville Oct. 15 (October 5, 2016)
Past Pirate champions will never be forgotten (October 5, 2016)
Readers share their ‘spooky’ tales (October 5, 2016)
Sacred Springs PowWow (October 5, 2016)
Shorter teapot (October 5, 2016)
Sinatra tribute comes to Kerrville (October 5, 2016)
Stockdale librarian updates Blue Bonnet Club members (October 5, 2016)
Sunnyside 4-H Bake Sale (October 5, 2016)
Time for turkey in Cestohowa (October 5, 2016)