Older adults are disproportionately affected by vaccine-preventable diseases that cause significant illness, hospitalization, pain, disability, and death in the United States.
- Pneumonia causes between 300,000-600,000 hospitalizations in older adults annually.
- More than 50 percent of annual flu-related hospitalizations and 90 percent of annual flu deaths are in people age 65 and older.
- The death rate from pneumonia and influenza combined is close to 130 times higher in people age 85 and older as compared to people ages 45 to 54.
Despite these facts, vaccination rates among older adults are much lower than current targets set by the U.S. government’s Healthy People 2020 Initiative.
The Alliance for Aging Research has created a group of free resources to help educate about how vaccines serve as an important step in protecting our health. “Our Best Shot” is a public education initiative that urges older adults to get these life-saving vaccines and encourage their loved ones to do the same. The centerpiece of the campaign is a FREE, easy-to-use community leader toolkit that has resources to conduct successful workshops on vaccination in older adults. The toolkit includes a short film highlighting how vaccines work and why they are important for older adults, an educational patient brochure, participant quizzes and a slide presentation to guide discussion throughout the workshop.
There is also a Twitter Chat scheduled on September 22 to learn how to promote awareness in older adults and caregivers. You can ask questions about the campaign and follow the discussion on Twitter by using the hashtag #OurBestShot.