Getting vaccinated against flu and other preventable diseases should not be delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone. Because of this, Americans have delayed routine medical care. We have seen alarming declines in recommended vaccinations across all age groups. In the United States, vaccination rates for older adults dropped by an alarming 83 percent compared to last year; 19- to 49-year-olds saw declines of more than 60 percent. For certain vaccines, the demand has plummeted by up to 95 percent since the start of the pandemic.
Vaccines can help protect individuals of all ages from potentially deadly diseases, including measles, influenza, and pneumonia. High immunization rates can protect communities, including vulnerable individuals such as older adults, those with chronic health conditions, and those who cannot be vaccinated. Additionally, ensuring that communities are caught up with recommended vaccinations can help prevent further strain on the U.S. healthcare system. To protect yourself and your family today, make sure you are all caught up with recommended vaccines.
Beat the risk
Annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone older than 6 months. While flu is potentially serious for anyone, it is particularly dangerous for older populations. Adults above 65 years old are six times more likely to die of the flu and related complications. In the country, 6 in 10 adults are living with at least one chronic health condition. For them, this flu season poses an unprecedented dual threat: co-circulation of the viruses that cause flu and COVID-19.
Besides flu, adults need vaccines for other diseases including shingles, hepatitis A and B, and pneumococcal disease. Tens of thousands of chronic illnesses and permanent disabilities, millions of hospitalizations, and hundreds of thousands of deaths among adults are linked to vaccine-preventable diseases every year. Adults above 65 years old are especially vulnerable, as immune systems weaken with age. Fortunately, safe and effective vaccines are available — including some specially designed to work better in older adults.