A recent report indicates that seniors age 65+ aren’t getting the recommended vaccinations necessary to protect themselves from disease. The study, prepared by the Trust for America’s Health, a non-partisan group, found that a third of seniors had received no immunization against pneumonia in 36 states. Also, less than a third of people who were older than 65 went without the seasonal flu vaccine in 2008.
The report, "Adult Immunization: Shots to Save Lives," says that millions of Americans forgo routine vaccinations for preventable diseases. Some 40,000 to 50,000 adults die every year as a result. Seasonal flu can lead to pneumonia among the elderly, and it can be particularly lethal in that age group, experts said.
Oregon had the highest immunization rate for pneumonia among seniors. Just more than one in four didn't get the vaccine. Washington, D.C., had the lowest rate; almost half the elderly population hadn't gotten it. One reason for the low immunization rates among adults, according to the report, was that unlike school children or the military, many adults aren't connected to some kind of institution or network that requires vaccinations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that everyone older than 65 be vaccinated for pneumonia. It hopes to reach a 90 percent immunization rate this year.
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