Vaccines for Seniors woman gets vaccination shot

Vaccines for Seniors

Medicare covers many vaccines for seniors. In 2021, seniors need the COVID-19 vaccine. CDC confirms a new COVID-19 variant “seems to spread more easily and quickly than other variants.” Thus, putting seniors at greater risk for viral infection.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Seniors age 65 and older often have a weakened immune system, making it more difficult to fight infections. Thus, seniors who get infected are more likely to have complications, such as hospitalization and death. Since the new COVID-19 variant is accelerating the spread of the virus, seniors need vaccination ASAP. 

Vaccines For Seniors man get COVID-19 shot
Senior man gets the COVID-19 vaccine.

What vaccines do seniors need?

All vaccinations protect seniors from serious diseases (and related complications), so you can stay healthy. Medicare covers the following vaccines for seniors:

COVID-19 Vaccination

FDA issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on December 11, 2020. A week later, the FDA issued EUA for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. A third COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson and Johnson was approved by CDC on February 28, 2021.

As of January 2021, the supply of these COVID-19 vaccines is limited. To protect the most vulnerable, the CDC recommends the following get the vaccine first. 

CDC prioritization for COVID vaccine

  • 1a. Healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities
  • 1b. Frontline essential workers and people aged 75 and older
  • 1c. People aged 65 – 74, those 16 – 64 with underlying medical conditions, and other essential workers.

To find a COVID-19 vaccination site near you, search for your state’s department of health. For example, search “Florida Department of Health.” Your state governor will determine who can administer the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Vaccines for Seniors woman is first to get COVID-19 shot
75 year old woman is first to get COVID-19 vaccine.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

Medicare Part B covers the Hepatitis B vaccine if you are at increased risk for Hepatitis B. Read the article, Does Medicare Pay for Hepatitis B vaccine? and discover how Hepatitis B spreads. Furthermore, learn the symptoms and the difference between acute and chronic Hepatitis B. 

You qualify for the Hepatitis B vaccine if you have one of the following:

Hepatitis B vaccine illustration
Hepatitis B is a virus that infects your liver.

Influenza Flu Vaccine for Seniors

To protect your health, the CDC says, “Flu vaccination is especially important for adults 65 years and older.” Seniors have a “high risk of developing serious complications from the flu.” For example, recent estimates show between 70 and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths occur with seniors. Furthermore, seniors also account for 50 to 70 percent of flu-related hospitalizations. 

Flu vaccine for seniors reduces their risk of flu illness and severe outcomes. Moreover, flu vaccines for 2020-2021 are new from last season’s vaccine to better match circulating viruses. Studies show the flu vaccine effectively reduces medical visits and hospitalizations, particularly in seniors. 

Influenza virus

Medicare Part B provides flu shot coverage. Learn about the Influenza viruses and how the flu vaccine protects you from this contagious respiratory illness. Discover the most effective flu vaccines for seniors. 

Pneumococcal Vaccine for Seniors

Medicare Part B provides pneumococcal vaccine coverage for seniors. Furthermore, Medicare covers two different pneumococcal shots, which protects you against different strains of the bacteria. As long as your health provider accepts Medicare assignment, your pneumococcal vaccinations are FREE! 

The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases recommends pneumococcal vaccinations for all seniors. Pneumococcal infections cause an estimated 150,000 hospitalizations per year and about 5-7% of those hospitalized die. However, the death rate of seniors is even higher.

According to the CDC, seniors are at increased risk for pneumococcal disease.

Vaccines for Seniors woman gets vaccination shot

Read the Medicare Pneumococcal Vaccine Coverage article and discover the following:

  • What is pneumococcal disease?
  • How does it transmit from person-to-person?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • How effective is the vaccine for seniors?

Shingles (Zoster) Vaccine

Shingles is a painful, blistering rash, and the vaccine reduces your risk of having Shingles. According to the CDC, almost 1 out of 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime. The incidence of adults having shingles has been increasing for decades. 

The graph shows people age 70 and older have the highest incidence of shingles. However, adults aged 50 – 59 have about the same incidence rate as adults aged 60 – 69. Thus, your risk of having shingles increases as you get older.

Unlike other vaccines, your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan covers the shingles vaccine. You can get Part D drug coverage in Medicare Advantage or stand-alone Part D Plan.

Shingles Incidence Rates by age over time
Shingles Incidence Rates by age over time

Read the Shingles Vaccine article to get answers to the following questions:

  • Who can get shingles?
  • Which shingles vaccine is best for seniors?
  • Where to get the shingles vaccine?
  • What does the shingles vaccine cost?