INFLUENZA VACCINE: SENIOR CITIZENS UNDER-VACCINATED

The virus responsible for the flu is called Influenzera. It is widely observed from late fall to spring. This is because this is the flu season.

Since the year 2009, there has been a drop in the flu vaccine among the elderly. Only one in three elderly people are now vaccinated against influenza, whereas previously the figure was more than 60%. These statistics are very far from the national and European public health target of 75%.

The reasons for this decrease

Aging causes a lot of damage, such as the deterioration of the sense organs. Many people over the age of 65 are deaf or blind and this is a great handicap for communication. Many of these seniors experience psychological and mental fatigue, which makes them quite depressed. At this stage, most of them are wondering what use they can still make of getting vaccinated. It can also be a problem of understanding because some others have a cognitive impairment and are no longer able to understand this kind of process.

Seniors are also beginning to lose confidence in the effectiveness of the vaccine because for them, the vaccine has to be renewed every year. The antibodies in their bodies are only resistant for 6 to 9 months.

The beliefs and knowledge of those over 65 years of age also contribute to the decrease in this rate. Among them are those who consider themselves to be healthy and do not see the need to be vaccinated.

All these reasons combined lead to skepticism among seniors, which explains the considerable drop in vaccination among them.

Why get vaccinated?

For the elderly, influenza most often leads to other associated illnesses or complications. Influenza itself is not fatal. But at this age, complications can lead to death.  According to WHO figures, there are about 60,000 deaths a year from influenza among people over 65. It is also a highly contagious disease. Because of their low immunity, seniors can contract it very easily. That is why it is essential for them to get vaccinated.

How much does it cost?

To fight this disease, a system has been put in place by the government. The cost of the vaccine is covered 100% by health insurance for the elderly or pregnant women.

Generally speaking, the flu vaccine is covered at 65% at a cost of €6. The amount to be paid is therefore only 2 euros.

A flu vaccination campaign is mostly done at the beginning of self-sufficiency. In France for the year 2019-2020, this campaign started on 15 October 2019.

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