Number of older adults getting vaccines in lower than normal

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Areca T. Wilson/Released)

During Tuesday night’s final debate for governor, none of the three candidates said they believe people should be forced to take a vaccine, even when one is developed and ready for COVID-19. But, the number of older adults getting their shots is lower than normal.

Still, a vaccine can’t be forced, said Susan Peschin, president and CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research.

“For the most part it’s not really allowed to mandate this type of vaccine. But, we do think it’s important to strongly encourage it,” she said.

Whether it’s for COVID, the flu, or anything else, Peschin said their “It’s Our Best Shot” campaign is meant to encourage people, especially older people, to go and get their shots. She said people are staying at home because of coronavirus. The side effect, perhaps, is that fewer people are getting the flu.

“A lot of it has to do with the fact that older adults are staying at home to stay as safe as possible,” she said. “Some of it has to do with the fact that people have been getting the message about the importance of the flu shot. Some of it also has to do with mask wearing because it can reduce your risk of getting the flu, in addition to COVID-19.”

Peschin said it’s important to understand that some people don’t want to get vaccines because of fears that they could cause autism or other problems.

“The original article that sparked fear and controversy about that…was shown to be a total fraud and the lead author lost his medical license,” said Peschin. “I think it’s really important to listen to people’s concerns and answer questions. It’s a fearful time because of COVID-19.”

She said people deserve to be heard and the facts are the best answer.

“It’s really looking to public health experts and your physician and community-based and national organizations that support science.”

She said the FDA and CDC are the best places to get correct information on vaccines, including for coronavirus. The FDA is in charge of the approval process.

“It’s a process that’s been in place a long time, very rigorous, especially for vaccines because they’re given to healthy people.”

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