Who Should Get Shots and When?

Article excerpt

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that, optimally, older adults get an influenza shot in the fall of each year and a pneumococcal shot at least once after age 65-although a second pneumococcal shot is sometimes necessary for those with certain chronic or immunosuppressive diseases.

The agency's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that influenza vaccinations be given to all residents and staff of nursing homes, chronic-care facilities, assisted living facilities, retirement communities and recreation centers. Influenza vaccine also should be given to healthcare employees, visit nurses, homecare workers and those in the household who might transmit influenza to people at high risk. Another group recommended for vaccination are those with such serious long-term health problems as heart or lung disease, diabetes and other metabolic diseases, blood disorders, impaired immunity or kidney disease.

Health officials also recommend influenza shots for those ages 50-64 in general because this group has many people with high-risk conditions. However, CDC's Alison Johnson acknowledges that this audience is harder to target because people in this age group tend to think they are invulnerable to flu. …