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It's Not Too Late to Vaccinate!

Immunizations, or vaccines, help prevent dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases. To stay protected against serious illnesses like the flu, pneumonia, and shingles, adults need to get their shots—just like kids do. Take this month to learn more about vaccines and remind family, friends, and coworkers to stay up to date on their vaccinations.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about which immunizations you need to stay healthy and up to date. It  is important to know which shots you need and when to get them.  There are several immunizations that are especially important for older Americans.

Shingles Vaccine
Shingles is a painful rash, which often has blisters. It is also known as Herpes Zoster, or just Zoster. A shingles rash usually appears on one side of the face or body and lasts from 2 to 4 weeks. The pain from this rash can be quite severe. Other symptoms include fever, headache, chills, and upset stomach.  A vaccine for shingles was licensed in 2006, and can reduce the risk of shingles by 50%. A single dose of the shingles vaccine is recommended for adults 60 years and older.

Pneumonia Vaccine
The pneumonia vaccine can protect older adults from pneumonia, or pneumococcal disease. Pneumonia is a disease caused by bacteria that can spread from person to person through close contact. It can cause ear infections, as well as other serious infections of the lungs, blood, and covering of the brain and spinal cord, which can lead to death. If you are generally healthy, typically only one dose of the pneumonia vaccine is recommended for adults over the age of 65.

Flu Vaccine
Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious disease that spreads quickly around the United States every year, typically between October and May. The flu is spread by coughing, sneezing, and close contact. Symptoms include fever/chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, and headache. The flu can lead to pneumonia and blood infections. Every year thousands of people die from the flu and many more are hospitalized. Older adults should get the flu vaccine every year as it can keep you from getting the flu, make the flu less severe if you get it, and keep you from spreading the flu to other family and friends.

If you need more tips on learning about immunizations, please call the TOLL FREE Engagement Line at 855-662-6448!


Take this adolescent and adult vaccine quiz to find out which vaccines you may need. 



Adult vaccine schedule.



If you have diabetes, flu vaccination is especially important for you.



This material was prepared by the Great Plains Quality Innovation Network, the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents presented do not necessarily reflect CMS policy. 11SOW-GPQIN-KS-GEN-08/0914