Each year, tens of thousands of Americans die of diseases that could have been prevented by vaccines—and most of those fatalities occur in the very young and in older adults. The immune system weakens as we age, making recovery from illness difficult, which is why vaccines are so important for older adults. Flu and pneumonia vaccinations are especially vital because those infections are leading causes of death among older Americans.
The vaccination recommendations below are from the CDC, and they apply to healthy older adults. If you have one or more chronic conditions or an illness, your doctor may recommend a different vaccination schedule tailored to your health needs. Your doctor will also factor in your age, lifestyle, job, and travel itinerary; past vaccinations; and childhood disease history.
This article first appeared in the November 2018 issue of UC Berkeley Health After 50.
Also see Life Before Vaccines: My Story.