Why It’s Important To Immunize The Elderly

Fluzone High-Dose vaccine

The influenza ailment is one of the ailments that are easily transmitted from one person to another through the air when the affected sneezes or even coughs openly. It is caused by a virus and, once a person has been infected, symptoms like increase in temperatures, aching limbs and joints, shivers, and fatigue may be present. However, there are measures that have been put in place in different jurisdiction to cub its prevalence such as the early immunization of the masses against it while they are at a younger age. Through such immunization, the larger percentage of the society becomes immune and strong to be infected by such an ailment and forms the herd immunity. The nurses have, in addition, found their way to participate in the control and prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of influenza in the society (Roden, et al., 2015). Through the participation of the nurses in the immunization of the Australian patients, it has become easier to control the sicknesses that cause massive deaths to the elderly including influenza. Basically, immunization that is done to a person while he/she is still young lasts for long but must be reactivated as they age as their body immune system becomes weak. As a result, this paper will focus on why it is important to immunize the elderly even if they have been immunized in their younger ages.

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Since the immunity level of the aged is lower than that of a younger person, the best recommended flu vaccine for them would be the Fluzone High-Dose that is given as an injection to the patients (Norman & Thompson, 2017). It is effective to them as it differs from the other types of flu vaccines in the following ways.

The elderly are prone to easy contracting of diseases as their immune system is weak to fight them on their own without boosters. It must be noted that these adults were immunized back in their tender ages but the vaccine has been losing its power over time as they have been aging over time. It is for this reason that they must be immunized again in order to endure that they are always safe (Chit, et. al., 2015, pg. 1461).

The Fluzone High-Dose comes with three diverse flu strains that are known to cause flu in any upcoming season in a few weeks’ time (Chit, et. al., 2015, pg. 1462). The strains include the A/H1N1, A/H3N2, and B and they aid in the body system of these old persons as they do not just respond effectively to one injection just as the young people do. For instance, the influenza strain type A, the A/H1N1 strain, in the vaccine helps in the prevention of the virus which is commonly referred to as the swine flu while the influenza strain type B, the A/H3N2 strain, helps in the control of the eradication of the predominant flu that has affected many people in the United States (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). The type B virus is known to avoiding being treated by the current vaccines that are available and it is commonly called either Victoria or Yamagata virus. Including the type B strain helps in this problem control. Another benefit of this vaccination is that it is made up of four times virus antigen when compared to the regular Fluzone (Norman, & Thompson, 2017). It is this antigen that is responsible for the stimulation of the human body immune system. It works in the perfect condition for these patients in preventing the upcoming season of flu when compared to the other types of flu vaccines including the regular flu vaccine as it comprises the three strains of the notorious flu viruses (Oxman, & Harbecke, 2017).

The importance of annual vaccination

Due to the fact that these patients receive this kind of injection, some of them are mostly known to develop some minor side effects including soreness on the place that the vaccine was injected on. Another side effect of this vaccine is the issue that the patient may develop a fever after a week of the vaccine injection (Skowronski, et. al, 2016). However, this injection is needed as it aids in the more production of the antibodies in the immune systems of these persons since they, on average, produce 50-75% fewer antibodies when compared to the immune system of a younger person (Montgomery, & Shaw, 2015).

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For the adults who are above the age of 65-years, continuous annual injection is recommended for a number of reasons (Petrie & Monto, 2017, pg. 841). However the basic reason is behind the fact that when people grow old day by day, their immune system become weaker and, thus, fighting the complications that they face on the daily basis becomes difficult due to the weakened immune system and losing of strength of the young-age vaccination. As a result, they must be given these immune boosters on the annual occasions so as to protect them from becoming vulnerable to these ailments (Petrie & Monto, 2017, pg. 843). Another fact is that, since they are having a weak immune system as the white blood cells being produced are in smaller contents, they may become ill by suffering from sicknesses such as pneumonia, flu, and/or shingles (Nyhan, & Reifler, 2015). They may end up being hospitalized for a long time and/or even facing the risk of death. This is where the continuous vaccine injection is recommended to these patients so as to increase their live span (Wilkinson, et. al., 2017, pg. 2777).

In addition, those patients who are suffering from other ailments such as diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure, the continuous and timely vaccination against flu is highly recommended as they are under a high risk of becoming hospitalized as they are the chances of contracting the ailments is reduced (Singanayagam, et. al., 2017). This fact is because the vaccine aids in the prevention of the ailments that arise and are related to the existing sicknesses and prolonging the lives of these individuals. To sum up, it is very important for the persons above the age of 65-years to be vaccinated against the flue to prevent further sickness complications, hospitalization, and even sudden incidences of unexpected death (Pinti, et. al., 2016, pg. 2286). As stated earlier, the weak capability of the body fighting ailments is reduced hence the elderly are more prone to contracting diseases easily (Montgomery, & Shaw, 2015 pg. 937).

Other types of immunization for the elderly

The elderly patients face a lot of challenges on their immune systems as it is weaker than that of a younger person resulting in more demand for better care through vaccination as they are weak to fight ailments naturally (Pinti, et. al., 2016, pg. 2286). The best action that can be done to these persons is basically immunization against various ailments. These immunizations include flu vaccination, herpes zoster, tetanus, polio, and streptococcus pneumoniae. Some other special patients are given immunization against several other ailments such as travelling sicknesses, pertussis, and/or diphtheria (Pinti, et. al., 2016, pg. 2289).

For instance, influenza vaccination is given to the persons as we have discussed in the above sections. It has been discussed that it comes with three different strains that are the A/H1N1, A/H3N2, and type B (Hensley, 2014, pg. 85) but the composition or the specific amount of each stereotype is determined by the findings of spread and efficacy of the ailment. The A/H1N1 type of the flu virus that is known as the swine flu while the A/H3N2 is the flu type named Hong Kong flu (Immunization Advisory Center, 2018). There are other subtypes such as A/H5N1 which is the bird flu and the A/H7N9 which is the avian flu making up the type A virus of the influenza ailment. It is recommended to these elderly patients on the annual basis in order to keep these patients in shape and on the move (Hensley, 2014, pg. 87).

The streptococcus pneumoniae vaccination is administered to these individuals by the use of the 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine as it has proven to be the best over the past years (Viard, et. al., 2016). In addition, the polysaccharides usually induce the IgM-dominated antibodies that specifically make this vaccine effective as they do not cause any issues pertaining enough immunological memory (Viard, et. al., 2016). This vaccine is considered effective as it is a T cell-independent. This vaccination prevents the Community-Acquired Pneumoniae (CAP) in both the elderly and children if the conjugated vaccines are used in both cases (Viard, et. al., 2016).

The herpes zoster vaccination is administered to these patients since they are prone to the varicella zoster virus as well as the chicken pox and life-long latency that they were infected with when they were children (Oxman & Harbecke, 2017). The other vaccines including diphtheria and tetanus are given to the elderly in protective amounts since their protective antibodies are in low amounts just as indicated earlier on (Montgomery & Shaw, 2015, pg. 939). All these vaccines play a key role in the lives of these elderly patients as they prolong their lives and present cases of immediate sickness that results in immediate hospitalization and/or death.

Contraindications for immunization

As people age, as we have seen in the above sections, some may develop a negative risk when injected with a particular type of vaccination and such circumstances are known as contraindications. These contraindications are basically the states in a particular vaccine recipient, such as the flu vaccine patient, that generally increases the risks associated with the adverse and serious reactions (Immunization Advisory Center, 2018). When such instances arise, when the contraindications are present, no vaccination against the flu should be administered to the patient as the risks may be so high (Immunization Advisory Center, 2018). In this case, the Inactivated Influenza Vaccine (IIV) should never be administered when the patient has experienced a severe allergy to the previous vaccination that was given to him or her (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). Another contraindication is that if the patient is allergic to eggs, he or she must never be given the vaccination as it will increase the chances of the reactions (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). Finally, the patients that have an allergy or may be affected by any composition of the vaccine in their systems should never be given the vaccination as it may end up worsening their immune systems (Lambert, 2016).

It is effective for the caregiver to consult other medics and the medical requirements for such persons before giving them the injection as they may be putting their lives at more risk than they are in before the vaccination (Lim, Lee, Kyaw, & Chow, 2017).

Among the people that are at a high risk of contracting the ailment are the family members of the patients and the nurses but the nurses stand at a higher position of being infected since they come across several patients who might be suffering from this sickness (Miller, et. al., 2015, pg. 55). The disease-causing microorganisms constantly move from one patient to the nurse and back to another patient through the floors that are used on the daily basis (Miller, et. al., 2015, pg. 55). As a result, those nurses, who work at these institutions, are required to be vaccinated against these disease-causing germs especially the H1N1 flu virus (Miller, et. al., 2015, pg. 55). Despite this fact, many nurses resist from receiving this vaccination and it is for this reason that the requirements are to be set for these workers (Miller, et. al., 2015, pg. 55).

If these nurses are immunized against these ailments, it will be a sure method of reducing the spread of the influenza viruses from one person to another as they are supplied unknowingly. More work is required to be done to the nurses, even those that are available here in Australia, to consider the option of stopping further infection of the patients and themselves as well (Miller, et. al., 2015, pg. 55).  


The term herd immunity, or the population immunity, community immunity, and/or social immunity, basically means the kind of immunity that occurs to a population when the large percentage of it is immune to a particular ailment (Brewer & Moss, 2015). In other terms, it is the immunity that persons have due to the inability of the ailment to spread easily even before they are immunized. It is important as it hugely aids in the prevention of the spread of the disease as the transmission rate is very low compared to the rate when every member of the society is ill.

Here, in Australia, the community immunity against influenza is being boosted by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) by enquiring that every Australian must be immunized against the influenza virus in order to reduce the rate of falling sick and/or death cases (Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, 2018). In addition, it has been responsible in informing the general public of the persons that are responsible for the vaccination including its pharmacists for the patients aged 65-years and above through the National Immunization Program (NIP) as of the year 2018 (Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, 2018). Its president, Dr. Jackson, indicated that the persons who are selected to perform the immunization must inform their patients of the high-strength trivalent vaccines that are already available in the Australian stores (Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, 2018).

Some patients may argue that the vaccination against the flu may cause the actual flu. However, presenting them with the medical history data of other similar patients may aid in making them understand that the vaccination does not cause any flu ailment (Oxman & Harbecke, 2017).

In addition, educating the patient that the vaccine contains the dead virus of the flu will enable him or her understand the subject better (Nyhan & Reifler, 2015, pg. 459). By explaining to him/her that the body, once the dead virus is injected to it, produces more antibodies that are specified in fighting the available viruses that are already dead. Thus, the body will even be ready to fight new viruses that are alive once they invade the system since it had already produced more white cells to fight the virus (Nyhan & Reifler, 2015, pg. 460). Such patient education is effectively considered in making them understand that it will not cause the rise in the flu sickness. Simulations on how they virus will be dealt with once they invade the body may also assist the nurse, who happens to be the educator, on making the client understand (Nyhan & Reifler, 2015, pg. 460).

Most of these clients who must be vaccinated against the chances of being infected by the influenza may need some spiritual, emotional, and social safe environment where they will be taken care of effectively (Singanayagam, et. al., 2017). In such instances, the nurse and other caregivers must be informed of the need as to why they should effectively empower their patients in a way that they do not present harm to them either through harsh words or assaults to them. Every stakeholder in the nursing sector must be effective on this so as to make sure that the patients receive the utmost care (Lim, et. al., 2017).


Influenza immunization is a key factor in the reducing the rate of flu transmission between masses and a step in minimizing the deaths that arise out of its contraction. Immunization, as discussed, is given at a young age but it must be boosted once the patient starts aging as his/her body immunity level has reduced already. However, the immunization cannot be effective if the nurses are not available to give psychological and medical assistance to the patients (Ward, 2016). It is the ability of the nurses to understand the importance of reducing the diseases’ spreading that enables them to be immunized as well. This is because they are the people who interact with the infected patients and their immunization is important as well. It must be noted that the immunization of the young children forms the herd immunization in a later date when they are grown and there is a lower chance of disease spreading to other people.


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