Older adults are more susceptible to infectious diseases and have an altered immune response to vaccinations; therefore, all advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) need to be up to date with current immunization recommendations for older adults in various settings. Influenza and pneumonia remain common causes of death in older adults, and most recently, COVID-19 has the potential to result in premature mortality for all age groups, including those who are older and especially for those who live in congregate settings. This presentation will describe the rationale for the vaccination of older adults throughout their lifespan, including the timing, contraindications, and adverse effects of vaccines used to prevent influenza, pneumonia, herpes zoster, pertussis, and tetanus in older adults. An update on the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine in the elderly, especially those in nursing homes and congregate settings, will be provided as well as current statistical data on how many have been immunized. Current guidelines for the advanced practice nurse to follow for vaccination of the older adult when the vaccine history is incomplete or not available will be presented. The need and implications for vaccination of special populations such as the homeless, older immigrants, international travelers, cancer patients, men who have sex with men, renal patients, and nursing home and hospice patients will be discussed. Vaccination is critical in promoting healthy aging.
Learning Outcome: After completing this learning activity, the participant will be able to assess innovations being used by other professionals in the specialty and evaluate the potential of implementing the improvements into practice.