According to a report published for World Population Aging, India is one of the aging nations as 7.7% of its population is more than 60 years old. Also, by 2050, it is estimated that it will increase by 19%.
With increase in elderly population, it also becomes imperative that measures are being taken to improve the health and wellness standards for the senior citizens.
With other advancements in medical science and technology and improvement in healthcare facilities there is one more area in elderly care, which should not be ignored. It is their immunization. Just like children, seniors also require immunization to strengthen their immunity.
Vaccines are highly important. As one ages, the immune system of the body weakens, and it can be more problematic to fight off infections. In India, the following five vaccines are mostly administered to elderly:
- Influenza vaccine: This vaccine contains an inactivated flu virus. The immune system responds to this inactive virus and develops antibodies against it. A high-dose influenza vaccine is recommended for elderly over the age of 65 annually.
- Pneumococcal infection: The vaccineprotects against pneumonia caused by the pneumococcus bacteria. The vaccine is recommended for the elderly over the age of 65.
- Herpes Zoster (Shingles) vaccine: It protects against a painful condition called shingles, a disease that causes a painful, blistering rash. Research studies have shown that age-related weakening of immune systems can activate the dormant virus. A majority of the elderly who suffer from this disease are 60 years or older. So it is recommended once at the age of 60.
- Tdap vaccines: Elderly over the age of 65 should be administered the Tdap vaccine if they never had in order to protect against whooping According to the CDC recommendations, all elderly must receive a booster dose every 10 years.
- Hepatitis B: In India, the reported prevalence of hepatitis B ranges from 2 to 10%. Hepatitis B is a contagious virus that infects the liver. Elderly people over 60 years of age have a decreased antibody response to hepatitis B vaccination. This vaccine is recommended for elderly who are public safety workers and to those who are exposed to blood in the workplace.
Apart from these, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A vaccines are also recommended.
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