Goodies for Oldies: Time to Administer Flu Vaccines to the Elderly

Today, the CDC reaches out to older adults in the hopes of increasing awareness about the dangers of influenza infection and to increase vaccination rates.

Cough cough wheeze sneeze

That old familiar bodily music is the sound of flu season descending upon the nation, something about which the CDC is trying to build awareness during National Influenza Vaccination Week, which concludes this Saturday, December 11.

She didn't get vaccinated

Every day this week, the CDC has been appealing to a specific group of individuals in order “to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination, as well as fostering greater use of flu vaccine after the holiday season into January and beyond.” These efforts are especially important to at-risk demographics such as the chronically ill and very young.

Today the CDC focuses its efforts on older adults (those individuals aged 65 years and older) who are at greater risk of both hospitalization and death from influenza infection due to weaker immune systems.

In general, the CDC hopes to communicate three things to this population: 1) older adults should be vaccinated annually; 2) vaccination is the best protection for older adults against influenza and influenza-related complications; 3) a 2010-2011 seasonal influenza vaccine is still recommended even for adults who received the 2009 H1N1 vaccine last season.

It may taste good, but don't think this is going to prevent you from catching the flu

It is especially important for older adults to recognize that they are not only protecting themselves against influenza infection, but health care workers that may be looking after them and other household contacts, and children younger than five who might be under their care.

Though the CDC and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has not expressed a preference, older adults should also be aware that they have two vaccines available to them, one of which is of a higher dose and is associated with a stronger immune response. The CDC stresses that doctors and nurses should discuss with their older patients the best course of treatment.

Additional resources

  • NIVW Activities - National, regional, & state & territorial calendar of events
  • NIVW Daily Materials - Posters, brochures, fact sheets, etc. for use during NIVW
  • NIVW Media Toolkit - Information on how to develop key messages, press materials, train spokespersons, etc
  • NIVW Web Tools - Podcasts, ecards, buttons, banners, & badges for download…
  • Resources for Health Professionals & Partners - Media toolkits, print materials, PSAs, & audio/video tools for download…
  • Influenza Campaign Matte Articles - Ready—to–use influenza articles for placement in local newspapers, magazines, or other publications

Every Child By Two - Raising awareness about the dangers of influenza and the importance for all parents to have their children vaccinated beginning at six months of age.

Families Fighting Flu, Inc. - A non-profit, volunteer-based corporation made up of families and healthcare practitioners who have experienced first-hand the death of a child due to the flu, or have had a child experience severe medical complications from the flu.