Close this search box.
Vaccines for Seniors

Ensuring the well-being of our senior citizens is essential for promoting long and healthy lives. There are three different types of vaccines seniors should consider receiving to protect against respiratory illnesses, including flu, RSV, and coronavirus. Below is quick guide of the different vaccines the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending and how Medicare can cover these shots.

Vaccines are an essential part of overall well-being, strengthening the immune system’s response to lower the effect of serious diseases and complications that come with it. If you’ve been putting off care and don’t know how much time has passed since your last vaccine, or maybe you’re questioning your need for a specific vaccine, or don’t know if you’re behind on your immunizations, give your primary care provider at Southwest Health a call! They can help you take the first step towards getting back to better health. Recommendations and needs vary by age; your provider will have specific recommendations for you.


Flu Shots. People aged 65 and older have three CDC-recommended flu vaccines, and they only need to receive one of these instead of the traditional flu shot. These FDA-approved vaccines provide an extra layer of protection beyond the standard flu shot. Older people tend to have a weakened immune system and have a greater risk of developing dangerous flu complications compared to younger adults. Keeping seniors out of the Emergency Room with flu complications is a priority! Talk with your doctor about receiving a senior-specific flu shot and the impact it can have on your health. Medicare Part B covers all flu vaccines as long as your doctor, clinic, or pharmacy does not charge more than Medicare pays.

RSV. Anyone 60 years or older, especially those with any heart or lung conditions, diabetes, kidney, or liver disorders should consider getting one of the newly approved FDA RSV vaccines. RSV is especially dangerous for people with pre-existing conditions that make people more vulnerable.

These vaccines, recommended by the CDC, will protect older and immunocompromised adults from respiratory illness, which is responsible for 6,000 to 10,000 senior deaths and 60,000 hospitalizations each year. The new RSV vaccines are covered by Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.

COVID Booster. If seniors haven’t already received a COVID-19 booster, consider getting one this season. Even though the pandemic has ended, COVID continues to still surge, causing an increase in hospitalization. The danger of COVID is high for the elderly population. The updated COVID vaccine targets the specific variants that are the most dominate in the US this season. COVID booster shots are 100% covered by Medicare Part B.

Health officials administer the COVID booster and flu vaccine at the same time. Due to the newness of the RSV vaccine this year, many doctors are recommending a two-week window between the RSV shot and the flu/COVID booster.

Beyond vaccines, there are lifestyle changes seniors can adopt to help improve quality of life. Staying healthy as a senior citizen involves a combination of physical, mental, and social well-being. Here are some ways seniors can maintain and improve their health:

Regular Exercise. Engage in regular physical activity to improve cardiovascular health, strength, and flexibility. Activities like walking, swimming, or low-impact aerobics can be beneficial. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise regimen. Certain safety precautions should be taken prior to participating in winter activities. Individuals with health conditions such as heart disease, asthma, Raynaud’s disease (extreme numbness and feeling of coldness in the hands and feet), etc., should receive approval from a physician prior to participating in more vigorous activities outdoors.

Balanced Diet. Eat a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy. Adequate nutrition is crucial for overall health, including bone density and immune function. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, which is essential for various bodily functions, including digestion, joint health, and temperature regulation.

Regular Health Checkups. Schedule regular checkups with healthcare providers to monitor and manage any existing health conditions. Early detection and management can contribute to better outcomes. Regular exams include vision and hearing checkups. Having regular vision and hearing exams address any changes promptly before conditions worsen.  Good sensory health is crucial for overall well-being and maintaining social connections.

Medication Management. Medications should be taken as prescribed, and communicate regularly with healthcare providers about any concerns or side effects. It’s helpful to keep an updated list of medications for reference when visiting the doctor.

Balance and Fall Prevention. Engage in exercises that improve balance and coordination to reduce the risk of falls. Minimizing potential fall risks and hazards at home is important. Look for loose rugs, clutter, and cord management at home.

Manage Stress. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to maintain mental and emotional well-being.

It’s important for seniors to consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice based on their individual health conditions and needs.