The New York State Office for the Aging has encouraged older New Yorkers to make sure they are up to date with all recommended immunizations.
This includes those that provide protection against respiratory illnesses such as influenza and pneumococcal disease.
Routine vaccination is an essential preventive care service that should not be delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While saying this on Monday August 24, 2020, NYSOFA Acting Director, Greg Olsen, stated that staying healthy during this pandemic is critical, particularly for older adults, who are at greater risk for COVID-19.
“Our immune systems are more easily compromised as we age, and older adults, especially those with chronic health conditions, have an increased risk of becoming seriously ill,”he said.
He added that in addition to following all safety and social distancing protocols, getting recommended vaccinations, especially those “that guard against respiratory illnesses such as influenza and pneumococcal disease, are vital to protect the health and wellbeing of older adults and caregivers.”
Olsen stated that August is National Immunization Awareness Month.
He advised older adults to consult with their healthcare provider to ensure that vaccinations and other preventive services are up to date.
“Flu season” in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months of age and older, particularly those at greater risk, get their annual flu vaccine by the end of October.
People 65 years and older are expected to be up to date with the pneumococcal vaccination to protect against pneumococcal diseases, such as pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections.
While these vaccines do not specifically protect against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, they are highly recommended to maintain overall health and protect against other respiratory illnesses.
The CDC recommends that the older adults get annual flu shot.
According to CDC, it is particularly important for those at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including adults age 65 years and older.
It also recommends pneumococcal vaccines to protect against pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections.
It adds that it is necessary to practice good health and safety habits, including wearing a mask in public, practicing social distancing by keeping at least six (6) feet of distance, avoiding close contact such as shaking hands or hugging; washing hands often or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available.