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New GSA Fact Sheet Highlights Pathway to Future COVID-19 Vaccine(s), But Let’s Remember Importance of Fully Utilizing Already Available Immunizations

By CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH
June 11, 2020

We’re living in a time when many feel it is difficult to fully protect our health. It sometimes seems we have little control as the specter of COVID-19 looms in the community. This historic pandemic has left many — perhaps older adults in particular — feeling cautious and fearful until the time that a vaccine is developed.

GSA’s National Adult Vaccination Program (NAVP) Workgroup has put together a new fact sheet, “Aging and Immunity: Why Older Adults Are Particularly Susceptible to Diseases Like COVID-19,” that provides valuable information about our immune systems and provides details about the complexities involved in creating a vaccine. Public-private partnerships and manufacturers are moving at a historic pace to bring a safe and effective vaccine to market. While a vaccine may be ready by the end of the year, it may also be significantly longer.

In that case, influenza and COVID-19 would circulate together through next spring. Pneumonia also rises during influenza season. And shingles can happen when the immune system wanes for many reasons. Thanks to the hard work of scientists and manufacturers, older adults are able to take control of their health on many fronts this fall in the form of vaccines to protect against a number of potentially harmful diseases.

And as everyone looks for ways to stay healthy in the shadow of COVID-19, we should all be talking to our family members, other loved ones, friends and colleagues about getting vaccines for the flu, pneumonia, and shingles. We may not have every immunization tool we want right now, but we have many powerful ones and they should be used to keep us healthy and restore our lost sense of control.

 

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