Public Health Reminds Older Adults to Get Needed Immunizations

Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 8:11am

Adults need immunizations too and Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) wants to make sure adults get the immunizations they need to stay healthy. To help in this effort, PHMDC recently sent out a letter to approximately 20,000 adults aged 66-80 years old who are due to receive a pneumococcal vaccine to protect them from serious infections of the lungs (pneumonia), bloodstream, and brain and spinal cord (meningitis).

The letter was a result of looking at data from the Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR), a secure statewide immunization database, that keeps records of immunizations provided to children and adults in Wisconsin.
“The data showed that only 41% of Dane County residents 65 years and older have received the two pneumococcal vaccines needed to fully protect themselves.  They may have gotten one pneumococcal vaccine, but now there are two types of vaccines that offer protection against more strains of pneumonia,” said Diane McHugh, PHMDC’s Immunization Coordinator. “We want to make sure they are aware of this and take the steps necessary to get both vaccines to prevent severe disease.”
 
The letter also informed residents about the other adult vaccines they may need, as well as where to get certain immunizations. “Where to get immunizations can be confusing. For instance for those 65 years and older and on Medicare, the Zoster (Shingles) and Tdap (Tetanus, Diptheria, and Pertussis) vaccines need to be given at a pharmacy since those vaccines are covered by Medicare Part D,” said McHugh. “But other vaccines would be covered by Medicare through your regular health care provider. In addition, PHMDC offers some immunizations for free to uninsured adults and for adults without Medicare D.  People who do not have health insurance or Medicare can call Public Health at 608-266-4821 for more information.”

“After mailing the reminder letter, we received quite a few phone calls from people who felt they received the letter in error, or wanted more information,” McHugh went on to say. “We like to get those calls, so we can talk more about immunization needs or double check the Registry records and update information as needed.”

More about the Wisconsin Immunization Registry
The Wisconsin Immunization Registry is a secure database where authorized healthcare providers and pharmacies from all over Wisconsin can look-up immunization records, determine what immunizations are needed and enter immunizations they have provided. Individuals can check their records through the database by going to https://dhfsWIR.org.

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