Vaccination in adults – Part 1
Health care systems are always looking to improve the health of people in the community and improve the quality of life, especially in the middle and old age. Among these, disease prevention methods (vaccination in adults) are the most effective methods. By 2050, it is estimated that more than 1.2 billion people worldwide will reach the age of 60.
The number of people over the age of 80 will also increase significantly from 125 million in 2015 to 434 million in 2050. Prevention of infectious diseases and their complications in middle-aged and elderly people will help to improve the quality of life and general health of people in the community. Vaccination against common and high-risk infectious diseases is the most important and effective way to prevent infectious diseases.
Why is vaccination in adults (middle-aged and elderly) important?
Older people are more prone to infectious diseases and their complications, as the immune system’s response to viruses and bacteria decreases with age. On the other hand, with age, the chances of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and vascular disease increase, which in turn creates more favorable conditions for increasing the incidence of infectious diseases. Older people are also more likely to suffer from vaccine-preventable diseases (including prolonged illness, hospitalization, temporary or permanent physical disabilities, and even death).
Recommended vaccines in middle and old age
The vaccination committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccination against four major diseases, including influenza, pneumonia, herpes zoster and pertussis, in people over 50. In this article, we will look at the flu vaccine and examine other vaccines in the future.
Middle-aged and elderly people are more likely to develop influenza virus complications due to underlying diseases and the natural weakening of the immune system. According to the CDC, 50% of hospitalizations and 64% of deaths from influenza are related to people over 65 who have not been vaccinated against the flu.
The center’s vaccination committee recommends getting an annual dose of influenza vaccine with the Inactivated virus formula for all people over 65. Of course, getting the flu vaccine is recommended for all ages, but it is more important in people over 65. The best time to get the vaccine is in late September and early October, because the seasonal outbreak of influenza is usually from October to May.
Complications of influenza vaccine
Complications of the flu vaccine include redness, tenderness, and localized swelling on the injection spot, headache, mild fever, nausea, and muscle aches that can be overlooked compared to the serious side effects of the disease.
Type of vaccine for the middle-aged and elderly population
High-dose Vaccine is recommended for middle-aged people because the immune system’s response decreases with age, and higher doses of the vaccine can overcome this immune response weakness. The high-dose vaccine has four times the amount of antigen compared to the standard dose of influenza vaccine.
Types of influenza vaccines
- Influenza Vaccine, Inactivated
- FluMist Quadrivalent
- Flublok Quadrivalent Recombinant
* A vaccine made from a live virus that is weakened in people over the age of 50 is not recommended.
Safety of influenza vaccine
Although no vaccine is safe, the viruses used in the common Hot Shot vaccine contain a non-living, inactive part of the virus that only triggers the immune system and causes antibodies against the virus, so they are not pathogenic. Viruses in other types of vaccines that contain weakened live virus (such as nasal drops of influenza vaccine) also do not have the ability to multiply and cannot cause influenza.
If the flu is seen after the vaccination, it is not related to the vaccine, but the virus has entered the body at the same time or before the vaccine was given. Catching flu is also possible after vaccination, but the disease will be much weaker and with fewer complications.
It should be noted that symptoms such as muscle aches, pain in the injection spot, and fever (called “quasi-influenza”) are usually reported up to 48 hours after receiving the vaccine. These side effects are due to the immune system’s reaction to the entry of the vaccine into the body, and are a good sign that the immune system is sufficiently stimulated, followed by an increase in antibodies in the body.