Elderly and COVID-19 Vaccines. What to expect.
With vaccines to protect us all against COVID-19 here, what should our elderly expect?
Our elderly are bearing the brunt of severe disease from COVID-19.
Namely, Pfizer and Astra Zenica Oxford, are the two types of vaccines available in the United Kingdom.
Both vaccines are notably effective in preventing illness due to the coronavirus, according to information released by the companies, and the data from clinical trials. Both have been tested in adults 65 and older, who mounted a strong immune response.
Those elderly living in residential care homes and assisted living centres will be among the first vaccinated. Elderly people living at home will need to wait a while longer.
Elderly people who are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 will get the vaccine before others in our communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic is serving as a painful reminder that infectious diseases can have catastrophic effects for elderly people. The importance of including elderly people in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials is vitally essential.
Our immune systems gradually deteriorate as part of a natural ageing process called immunosenescence. This coupled with the higher rates of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and dementia, amongst the elderly population, means that they are more susceptible, and less resilient to infectious diseases, such as COVID -19.
Complications from infectious disease leads to increased mortality and morbidity rates in patients over 65 years old.
Vaccinations are a prophylactic treatment strategy, meaning that immunogenic materials from pathogens (bacteria, virus, or tumours) are administered to generate an adequate immune response specifically to these antigens.
Vaccine-preventable diseases which can affect the elderly population are influenza, pneumococcal disease, tetanus, hepatitis B. It is recommended that all adults over 65 years old receive seasonal influenza vaccination annually, pneumococcal vaccines and now the COVID -19 vaccine.
The NHS is undertaking the largest vaccination programme in its history. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and gives our elderly the best protection against COVID-19.