MARYLAND (WDVM) — On Wednesday, the United States experienced over 100,000 hospitalizations due to COVID-19. The race to the first coronavirus vaccine is ongoing, but as many Americans are more aware of the topic of vaccinations now than ever before, medical professionals have taken this time to remind everyone that the coronavirus is not the only infection to stay mindful of. Professionals are urging citizens — especially those over the age of 65 — to ensure that they’re protected against three other major illnesses: the flu, pneumonia, and shingles.
“Although everyone over the age of 6 months should consider getting a flu shot, flu vaccines are especially important in adults over the age of 65,” said Amy Macdonald, a family nurse practitioner. “This patient population accounts for most of the hospitalizations and deaths from flu and COVID-19. So we wanna take flu off the table as much as possible in our hospital emergency rooms and critical care units so they can focus on the COVID-19 patients.”
Many residents are not only looking to get themselves vaccinated but are also encouraging others to get immunized for the good of everyone.
“I think that if that’s what’s recommended by scientists, that’s what people should do,” said Tony Dahbura, a Johns Hopkins computer science department faculty member. “We can’t have two classes of people — people that have been vaccinated and people who haven’t. And that’s what people need to understand. It’s not just a personal choice.”
The flu, pneumonia, and shingles by themselves are illnesses that Americans should be protected against, but this year citizens are asked to be extra careful, as combining these sicknesses with the coronavirus can be especially dangerous. Medical practitioners say that vaccinations are more important than ever before.
“I would say people are definitely concerned about becoming sick or ill,” said Macdonald. “Primary care providers are recommending [the vaccines]. And people are just, in general, a little concerned about their health and well-being, and they’re more motivated to get their vaccine this year, for sure because of the pandemic.”
According to Macdonald, she has perceived an increase this year in the number of people seeking vaccinations. But for anyone who has delayed getting immunized, there are several options, and many of them carry a little-to-no cost.
Not only can people go to their primary care providers for more information on vaccinations, but the MinuteClinic also offers all three vaccinations mentioned here. Some of these vaccinations are age-restricted, however.
The seasonal flu is an added burden on the nation’s healthcare system during the pandemic. For the seasonal flu shot, the MinuteClinic (as well as all CVS pharmacies) offer the FDA-approved quadrivalent influenza vaccine, and there is also a high dose option for seniors who are 65 or older. Upon request, the MinuteClinic can also offer the Flublok vaccine for anyone with an egg allergy. Customers can either schedule an appointment or opt for a walk-in appointment.
Pneumonia is a breathing problem caused by an infection in the lungs that affects millions of people each year. Many people who are infected with COVID-19 also develop pneumonia. For the pneumonia vaccine, the MinuteClinic and CVS pharmacies offer both Prevnar 13® and Pneumovax® 23 pneumonia vaccines to adults age 65 or older. Customers can either schedule an appointment or opt for a walk-in appointment.
Shingles is a painful rash that comes from the chickenpox virus, so anyone who previously had chickenpox is at risk of getting shingles. About one in three people will develop shingles in their lifetime. For the shingles vaccine, the MinuteClinic and CVS pharmacies offer two doses of Shingrix, scheduled two to six months apart, to adults age 50 or older. Customers can either schedule an appointment or opt for a walk-in appointment.
For additional information, please visit the MinuteClinic page on the CVS website.
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