Which COVID Vaccine is Best for Senior Citizens?
Seniors are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Here we explore reasons to get the vaccine, and which FDA-approved vaccine might be best for you.
We are more than two years into the COVID pandemic. There are many reasons to be optimistic about the way things are going due to the development of a number of effective vaccines—but not everyone has been vaccinated, despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that vaccines and booster shots are highly effective.
As we’ve seen through the news and the reports from various accredited agencies over the last couple of years, there’s no doubt seniors have been particularly vulnerable to the COVID virus. When we get older, we’re more likely to experience all kinds of health problems, so it’s particularly important to take all precautions, including the vaccine. The older we are, the more immune dysfunction we have. This causes us to have a higher risk of complications from COVID-19.
Today we’re going to look at some of the primary reasons to get the vaccine (and subsequent boosters), and which FDA-approved vaccine might be best for you.
Should I Get Vaccinated?
Before you decide which COVID vaccine is best for senior citizens, you may still want to consider whether getting vaccinated is right for you. First, a reminder that whether or not you get vaccinated is your choice. If you have certain pre-existing conditions, such as a history of serious allergic reactions, including reactions to vaccine ingredients such as polyethylene glycol, you shouldn’t get the vaccine. (As always, it’s best to consult with your doctor.) There are some side effects from taking the vaccine, ranging from fatigue and headaches to muscle aches that might last a few days. Some people experience all of these side effects, while others feel absolutely no effects whatsoever.
Caveats aside, there are many good reasons for older people to get vaccinated. According to the CDC, the possibility of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, with the highest risk among senior adults.
Having underlying conditions such as these can also increase your risk for severe illness from COVID-19:
- Heart conditions
- Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes
If you do get the virus, there’s no way of telling how it will affect any one individual. You could have mild symptoms—or no symptoms at all. Or, unfortunately, it can become quite serious. The good news is that we’ve learned that all of the COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States have proven to be effective at preventing the illness.
FDA-Approved COVID Vaccines
There are a number of different FDA-approved COVID vaccinations, but you should consult with your physician before determining which COVID vaccine is best for senior citizens, and which is best for you. However, it’s safe to say that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have established arguably the best track records, have full FDA approval and have proven to be quite effective.
COVID Vaccines Efficacy Stats
A brief overview of COVID vaccines efficacy stats can help you make the right choice regarding FDA-approved COVID vaccines available to you, and assist you in determining which COVID vaccine is best for senior citizens. According to 2021 findings by the CDC, seniors in the U.S. who were fully vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were 94% less likely to be hospitalized with the disease. Partial vaccination was also beneficial, reducing the risk of hospitalization by 64% among older Americans. Note also that the CDC says people ages 65 and older should get a second dose of Pfizer within three weeks after the first dose, or a second dose of Moderna within 28 days of the first dose.
Regardless of which vaccine you choose, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, including booster shots.
Also, it should be noted that in many areas, you can arrange to have in-home vaccinations, including booster shots. Contact your local city or state health agencies for information.
A few other things to keep in mind:
- You most likely won’t have to pay anything out of pocket to get the vaccine. The federal government has provided coverage of the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge for people with Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and those with no insurance.
- Vaccine providers can bill insurance companies for the cost of the vaccine, so bring your Medicare or insurance card with you when you get vaccinated.
- Beware of scammers offering “special deals.” Anyone who is soliciting door-to-door should not be trusted.
- Don’t forget to consult your doctor for their recommendation, based on your medical history.
Unsure how your choices regarding the vaccine will impact your future living and social opportunities? See our article: “Can Nursing Homes Require COVID Vaccines for Residents?”
Find a Senior Community that Puts Your Mental and Physical Health First
A good understanding of your COVID vaccine options is important for your physical health, but can also benefit your mental health. Getting vaccinated can help reduce health anxiety, so you can start socializing again. Finding the right senior community can also help you live a more fulfilling life, meet new people and try new activities. Community staff can also talk through your options with you, to help you figure out which COVID vaccine is best for senior citizens, and for you.
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