Recommended vaccinations for those 50 and abovePublished 1:19pm Friday, April 6, 2012
Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis): A one-time dose of the Tdap vaccine which covers tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) is now recommended to all adults. If you’ve already had a Tdap shot, you should return to getting a tetanus-diphtheria (Td) booster shot every 10 years. Most private health and Medicare Part D plans cover these vaccinations, but if you have to pay, they cost between $20 and $100.
MMR (measles, mumps and rubella): Anyone born during or after 1957 that is unsure about their immunization history should receive the MMR shot. A blood test can tell whether someone has had any of these diseases or has received the MMR vaccine, but a test costs approximately $100. If you’re unsure about your immunity, getting a booster shot is more cost-effective (around $50 and is usually covered by insurance) and isn’t harmful, even if you’re already immune.
Hepatitis A: This is a two-dose series of shots recommended to adults age 50 and older that have chronic liver disease, a clotting-factor disorder, have same-sex male partners, illicit injectable drug use, or who have close contact with a hepatitis A-infected individual or who travel to areas with a high incidence of hepatitis A.
These shots cost anywhere from $60 to $300, but are covered by most health and Medicare prescription drug plans.
Hepatitis B: This three-dose series is recommended to adults 50 and older who are on dialysis, have renal disease or liver disease, are sexually active with more than one partner, have a sexually transmitted disease or HIV. These vaccinations are covered under Medicare Part B.
Meningitis: Adults 55 and younger who have never been vaccinated, have had their spleen removed, have certain blood deficiencies or plan to travel to parts of the world where meningitis is common, should receive the meningococcal conjugate vaccine.
Adults 56 and older should receive the polysaccharide vaccine. Covered by most health and Medicare Part D plans, this shot will cost around $100 to $150 if you have to pay out-of-pocket.
To help you get a handle on which vaccines are appropriate for you, take the CDC “What Vaccines Do You Need?” quiz at www2.cdc.gov/nip/adultimmsched. Also, talk to your doctor during your next visit about what vaccinations you should get.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org.
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.