A vaccination seniors must get - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

A vaccination seniors must get

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November 12, 2002

Albany - Pneumonia and full kill at least 40,000 older Americans each year. One South Georgia hospital is trying to make sure its elderly patients are vaccinated for both illness.

A new study shows when older patients are hospitalized for any reason, the hospitals rarely give them flu or pneumonia vaccines. Medicare doesn't pay for flu and pneumonia shots, so doctors don't always suggest the immunization to patients.

But Dr. Thomas Graf, with Phoebe Putney, says that's changing. "Phoebe Putney is implementing new protocol for immunizing older patients," said Dr. Graf. "Most patients will receive the vaccination as a precaution." 

Dr. Graf say seniors shouldn't wait until they're already sick to get the flu and pneumonia vaccines. And, he says the strain of pneumonia that easily spreads in hospitals is sometimes immune to the vaccine.

Posted at 5:45 PM kathryn.murchison@walb.com