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August is National Immunization Month

Adults reminded they need vaccines too
August 5, 2013

Vaccines help prevent dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases. This August, National Immunization Awareness Month, is the perfect time to remind family and friends to get caught up on their shots.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thousands of adults in the United States die each year from diseases they could have been vaccinated against. Many adults remain unvaccinated because they are unaware of or misinformed about the need for vaccines beyond childhood.

Adults, too, need immunizations, also called vaccines or shots, to help protect from serious diseases. It’s important to know which shots they need and when to get them.

Immune systems tend to weaken over time, putting individuals at higher risk of infectious diseases. When older adults get infected, they can have more severe illnesses than younger people. Vaccines can help boost the immune system to decrease the risk of older adults getting vaccine-preventable diseases.

Fortunately, all Medicare consumers are eligible for flu vaccines once per flu season in the fall or winter. A flu vaccine is necessary every year because flu viruses are always changing. It is recommended for adults over age 50, residents of long-term care facilities, healthcare workers, those with chronic medical conditions and certain others.

The pneumococcal vaccine is covered for all Medicare consumers and can be administered at any time of the year. The vaccine is recommended for all those age 65 or older as well as those with chronic heart, lung, liver or kidney diseases, residents of long-term care facilities and certain ethnic populations.

“People of all ages can get shots to protect themselves from disease and illness,” says Dr. Edward Sobel, medical director for Quality Insights of Delaware, the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for Delaware. “Talk to your doctor or nurse to make sure that everyone in the family gets the shots they need.”

For more information about Medicare's coverage of vaccines, go to www.qide.org/Medicare-Consumers/Your-Health.aspx.

Quality Insights of Delaware is committed to partnering with healthcare providers across the state to bring about widespread, significant improvements in the quality of care they deliver. To learn more about this nonprofit organization, visit www.qide.org.