Return to top of page

Almost Half of the Senior Population Unaware of the Importance of Immunizations

Published December 5, 2013

Vaccine being drawn from vial.

December 5th, 2013 – New Polling Shows Almost Half of the Senior Population is Unaware of the Importance of Immunizations

New Silver Book® from Alliance for Aging Research Details Value of Vaccinations for Seniors

WASHINGTON, DC – Today the Alliance for Aging Research released its latest edition of the well-respected Silver Book®: Chronic Disease and Medical Innovation in an Aging Nation, which focuses on the value of vaccinations to reduce the burden of infectious diseases among seniors. A new poll also out today performed by ORC International on behalf of the Alliance finds that 43 percent of seniors are unaware that it’s important for them to still get vaccinated. Get the full text of The Silver Book® here:

The Silver Book® provides the latest statistics on the prevalence of infectious diseases that disproportionately affect seniors such as pneumonia, influenza (“flu”), and herpes zoster (“shingles”). Seniors are more susceptible to developing a significant illness from these common infectious diseases, which too often lead to hospitalization, severe complications, and death. In fact, the death rate from pneumonia and influenza combined is close to 130 times higher in people age 85 and older, compared to people ages 45 to 54. This increased risk due to age is even higher than that seen in heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other leading causes of death.

“As the Alliance’s new polling demonstrates, seniors are not properly educated on the vital role routine immunizations play in their lives,” said Lindsay Clarke, Vice President of Health Programs at the Alliance for Aging Research. “With the tremendous burden of infectious diseases plaguing our aging population, we must act to break down the barriers in infrastructure, cost, education, tracking, and research that lead to under-vaccination of older adults.”

The Silver Book® also addresses some of these policy barriers and makes policy recommendations for improving vaccination rates in seniors such as establishing an adult immunization program, addressing coverage gaps, increasing awareness, utilizing immunization information systems to track histories and public health data, and incentivizing innovation.

“Every day more than 10,000 Americans reach their 65th birthday – to ensure this growing population lives out their silver years happy and healthy, policymakers and thought leaders must work together to guarantee they have proper access to the necessary tools and medical care,” continued Clarke. “The Silver Book’s mission is to spotlight the mounting burden of chronic diseases and conditions associated with aging, to highlight the value of medical research in reducing those burdens, and to provide a platform for discussions on public policy solutions that overcome the gaps in vaccination of older adults.”

To schedule an interview, please contact Kait Reinert at 202-293-2856 or [email protected].

The Alliance for Aging Research is the leading non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application in order to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging and health. The Alliance was founded in 1986 in Washington, DC, and has since become a valued advocacy organization and a respected influential voice with policymakers


News & Updates