It’s very important to get the proper Vaccinations. “Three out of four Americans older than 60 don’t get a shingles vaccine to protect themselves from the virus’ miseries: rashes over the face and body, stinging pain that can last for weeks or months and the threat of blindness.
Sometimes people must feel a pound of pain – someone else’s – to take a shot of prevention. Dr. Robert Wergin tells of one elderly patient with shingles who came to his Milford, Neb., office this summer. “I’m sorry, doc, I should have listened to your advice to get the shot,” the man said. A few weeks later, the man’s wife and brother, both in their 60s, visited Wergin, asking for the vaccine.
“It’s amazing how once people see the disease up close, getting the vaccine suddenly raises up on their list of priorities,” said Wergin, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
The shingles vaccine is not the only shot that public health officials are struggling to persuade older Americans to get. Vaccination rates for children have steadily risen well over 90 percent the past few years, but the rates for older adults getting flu, pneumonia, tetanus or shingles shots – the four most used vaccines among the elderly ‑- have stayed stubbornly flat and trail national goals, according to the latest federal data. That leaves millions of older adults at risk of dying, being hospitalized, or, in the case of shingles, suffering debilitating effects that can last years.
With the fall flu vaccination season starting this month, public health officials say they are disappointed by the trends.“Progress has been barely visible,” said Dr. Bruce Gellin, the nation’s top vaccine official.”
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