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Lifesaving Opportunities Missed: The Challenge of Vaccinating Older Americans for Pneumococcal Diseases and Influenza

Despite the dangers of pneumonia and flu -- and the possibility of being able to prevent them -- many at-risk older Americans fail to get vaccinated. In this Issue Brief, Kathleen Tschantz and Lisa Foley of AARP's Public Policy Institute explain the prevalence of pneumococcal and influenza infections among older adults and other high-risk groups. Discussing vaccination utilization rates, the cost implications of having pneumonia and/or flu, and barriers to obtaining vaccinations, the paper explores public policy initiatives to increase the vaccination rate for high-risk populations, expand public awareness of the benefits of vaccinations for older adults, and improve vaccination delivery. (9 pages)

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