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The elderly

Immunity declines with age, leading to a higher risk of serious infectious diseases. Many elderly people may also never have received the basic childhood immunisations because vaccinations were only administered at child health clinics from the 1950s onwards.
  • Many infectious diseases that are preventable by vaccines, and their sequelae, pose a greater threat to the elderly than younger adults, even if the elderly person is generally in good health. For this reason, it is recommended that people check their immunisation status.
  • The diphtheria and tetanus immunisation must always be up to date. A booster shot is required at 10-year intervals. The potential sources of tetanus infection include animal bites and having a cut or puncture wound contaminated by soil. 
  • The influenza vaccine is recommended for everyone aged 65 and up, as influenza is often more severe for the elderly. People in this age group and their household contacts and carers can receive the vaccine free of charge via basic health care. The effectiveness of the vaccine declines with age, while the risk of serious complications increases. This is why the influenza shot is particularly important.
  • The pneumococcal vaccine is recommended to persons who belong to a medical risk group. The free of charge vaccine is offered to those who have received a stem cell transplant, to those under 75 years of age who are severely immunocompromised or have a severe renal disease and to those 65-84 years of age who have an asthma or a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • The risk of shingles caused by the chickenpox virus increases dramatically when you get older. The disease can be treated with antiviral medications. There are also shingles vaccines which you have to pay for yourself.

Further reading

Page published 17.04.2018 | Page edited 18.03.2024