What vaccinations do you need after you turn 50?

The United Nations Assembly declared the decade 2021-2030 as the Decade of Aging Healthy, an initiative whose goal is to improve the lives of older people, their families and communities. To this same end, many countries have urged their citizens to take action on the matter and, in addition to other initiatives, inoculate all those vaccines that serve to prevent disease.

Vaccines are one of the historically most powerful tools to protect the Health world. They have fewer associated risks than many medical interventions. On the other hand, they help strengthen the immune system and protect against many diseases that previously caused serious sequelae or even death. In this sense there is an enlightening fact: they save the lives of between two and three million people a year.

A vaccine is any preparation whose function is to generate the body’s immunity against a certain disease, stimulating it to produce antibodies that will then act protecting you against future infections, since the immune system will be able to recognize the infectious agent and will destroy it. It is a biological medicine made from dead or attenuated microorganisms (bacteria or viruses) or products derived from them.

Along the history, Humans have succeeded in developing vaccines for some life-threatening diseases, including meningitis, tetanus, measles, and polio.

The community or herd immunity is the idea that vaccines can help keep communities healthy. In general, germs can travel very quickly through a community and make many people sick, as we have seen recently with the covid pandemic. What vaccines would be recommended for people over 50 years of age?

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flu shot

Who needs it: All adults, regardless of age. The frequency for its inoculation is once a year. The virus itself changes every year, and researchers try to predict what the most common strain will be that season. Flu season normally starts in October and ends in March.

Vaccine against covid-19

Who needs it: Adults of any age, especially those 50 and older, who are considered to be at increased risk of complications from coronavirus infection. It is recommended that adults receive the primary series, to later be vaccinated with boosters.

The ‘shingles’, herpes zoster

Commonly known as shingles, herpes zoster is a highly prevalent viral infection caused by the same virus as chickenpox. It especially affects the elderly (the risk increases with age, reaching up to 50% in those over 85 years of age) and certain risk groups, and its complications can cause disability and significantly affect the quality of life of those who suffer from it. .

In addition, shingles constitutes a significant burden to society both in direct health care costs, and in lost productivity for younger people and for caregivers for older patients.

pneumococcal vaccine

Adults need it 65 years or older, or adults ages 19 to 64 with certain risk factors (smoking or health problems such as chronic heart or lung disease, leukemia, lymphoma, or alcoholism). Adults who have not received a pneumococcal vaccine must choose between PCV15 or PCV20. If PCV15 is chosen, a follow-up dose of PPSV23 is required one year later.

Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) shot and/or Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster. The Tdap vaccine came out in 2005, and in addition to protecting against tetanus and diphtheria, like the vaccine it replaced, it also includes new added protection against pertussis.

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Hepatitis A vaccine

In this case, this vaccine should be given to people over 50 years of age at risk of hepatitis A, a liver diseaseeither. The infections are mainly due to travel to other countries where transmission of the hepatitis A virus is common, through close contact with an individual infected with hepatitis A. There are two doses six months apart.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

Needed by adults 50 and older who are at risk for hepatitis B, an infection of the liver. Hepatitis B It is transmitted when a body fluid (blood, semen, saliva) from a person infected with the hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. This can happen through sexual contact, or contact with blood or open sores.

People get vaccinated more when everyone else does

A study from the University of Texas McCombs School of Business (United States) shows that people are more willing to get vaccinated when health workers reveal how many others are getting it.

This is one of the largest surveys ever conducted in this regard, and led to two articles – one recently published in Nature Human Behavior and another in Nature Communications– showing that people vastly underestimate the uptake of the vaccine, both around the world and in their own communities.

“Our study shows that accurate information about what most people do can substantially increase the intention to accept the covid-19 vaccine,” says Avinash Collis, co-author and associate professor of information management, risk and operations at the School of McCombs Business from the University of Texas.

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Thus, according to the study, public health campaigns are more convincing when they focus on the percentage of people who get vaccinated, versus the dangers of refusing to get vaccinated. Another conclusion is that, throughout the world, people vastly underestimate the uptake of vaccines in their communities, in part due to widespread coverage of vaccination concerns.

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