COVID-19 Vaccines: What Older Adults Need to Know

Doctor holding vaccine syringe and needle

By Alison Wood, Contributing Writer

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone. However, there is now hope on the horizon with the arrival of the vaccination program.

The older a person is when they contract the COVID-19 virus, the greater the risk of serious illness and death, with those over the age of 70 most seriously affected. Because of this most countries, including the USA, are starting their vaccination program with older adults, as the protection offered by the vaccinations will most benefit seniors.

However, sadly, there has been a great deal of false and alarming information spread about vaccinations, and it’s sometimes difficult to separate fact from fiction.

Therefore, we’re outlining some key points to help you decide whether a COVID-19 vaccination is right for you or a loved one.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

You might have heard that the vaccines have been rushed to market. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (also known more simply as the CDC), “these vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.” The vaccinations have gone through exactly the same clinical testing process as any other vaccine. Plus, once a medicine is approved for use, it is still actively monitored for any adverse effects.

What does the COVID-19 vaccination involve?

Most of the currently available vaccines are delivered in two doses, a minimum of three weeks apart. To learn what you can expect at your vaccination appointment and what happens after your vaccination, click HERE to head to the CDC website for more in-depth information.

What are the benefits of vaccination?

The first important reason to be vaccinated is that all the COVID-19 vaccinations that have been approved for use so far are highly effective in preventing people from contracting the COVID-19 virus.

The second reason is that even if you were to contract COVID-19 after vaccination, it is believed, from the clinical data available so far, that you would be likely to get much less serious symptoms.

The third reason to get vaccinated is that you are likely to be protecting not only yourself but those around you, particularly those who are at a greater risk of getting more serious symptoms.

Are there any side effects to the COVID-19 vaccines?

Simply put, yes, there are some notable side effects, although not every one will experience them, nor does everyone experience them in the same way. Some people might experience localized pain in the arm where they were vaccinated; others might experience symptoms similar to having a mild flu. But any side effects should lessen in a few days. These mild side effects are usually nothing to be concerned about and are instead a sign that your body is building protection against the virus. However, there are more serious side effects that, while rare, could occur. Click HERE to find out more about any side effects that could be worrisome.

How much does COVID-19 vaccination cost?

For adults who are 65 and over, Medicare covers the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine. At this point, the supply of vaccines within the USA is limited, but it is expected that the number of doses available will rise over the next weeks and months, so that everyone can eventually receive a vaccination should they wish to do so.

Because people want to get a vaccination appointment as soon as possible, it’s important to watch out for scams. No one should ask you to share your Medicare number over the phone or via email. Nor should you be asked to pay in order to get access to a vaccine. 

Who gets access to the COVID-19 vaccines first?

Because vaccination supplies are currently limited, the CDC has given advice to federal, state, and local governments about who should receive the vaccine first. The first vaccines have been offered to residents of long-term care facilities and healthcare personnel.

Next are frontline workers and people age 75 and over. After that, the vaccine will be rolled out to decreasing age groups. You can find out more about the process by clicking HERE. As vaccination availability increases, access will be offered to more groups, more quickly.

The COVID-19 vaccinations are an important tool in the fight against the virus during this pandemic. Both before and after your vaccination, it’s important to continue protecting yourself and others. This means covering your mouth and nose with a mask when you are with others, keeping a social distance of at least 6 feet, avoiding crowded places, and washing your hands frequently. The vaccination program will help to bring cases down, but until everyone has received their vaccination, it’s important to still be cautious.

Information courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and CDC.gov.

Click HERE to read our medical disclaimer.