New Campaign Offers ‘Wellness Wisdom’ about Vaccines for Medicare Open Enrollment

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The Alliance for Aging Research and n4a launch the Our Best Shot campaign to encourage older adults to schedule their Medicare prevention visits, share the truth about vaccines, and get vaccinated.

Vaccines stand out as one of the greatest success stories in modern medicine. Since their introduction, they have safely and effectively protected millions of Americans, including older adults, from potentially deadly infectious diseases such as influenza, pneumonia, and polio.

To promote the importance of vaccination among older adults, the Alliance for Aging Research (Alliance) in partnership with the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) has launched Our Best Shot, an awareness campaign that encourages older adults to schedule their Medicare prevention visits, share the facts about vaccines, and get vaccinated themselves.

Timed to coincide with the start of Medicare Open Enrollment this week, the campaign targets misinformation about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. This misinformation has created a culture of fear and doubt that has had serious consequences—including outbreaks of diseases that had been considered eradicated. This is despite that for Americans born between 1994 and 2013 it is estimated vaccines will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes.

“Medicare preventive visits serve as a great opportunity to make sure older adults are up to date on important screenings and vaccines, talk with their health care professional about their family history, and make a plan with their health care professional to stay healthy,” says Susan Peschin, MHS, president and CEO of the Alliance. “An immediate step older adults can take is to get their annual flu shot and other recommended vaccines. We know that many older adults generally remember what times were like before vaccines existed for serious infectious diseases such as polio. They can play an influential role in their families and social circles by making sure their own vaccinations are up to date. The Alliance and our partner, n4a, are working to empower them with the truth about vaccines.”

The campaign features:

  • A new fact sheet detailing the valuable preventive services available through Medicare—including the Annual Wellness visit and recommended vaccines.
  • A newly released “truth teller” fact sheet that shares the facts about vaccines—debunking myths and misinformation and encouraging older adults to play an influential role in their families and social circles.
  • A “pocket film” that gives an accessible and compelling overview of why older adults should be vaccinated. This film has been newly translated into Spanish and is available via closed caption video for use in waiting rooms and health care settings.
  • A quick guide to the recommended vaccine schedule for older adults available in both English and Spanish.
  • A workshop kit with all of the resources necessary for a community health leader to conduct an educational event for older adults on the importance of vaccination.

All of the campaign materials are available at http://www.agingresearch.org/Vaccines and are being shared through social media using the #OurBestShot hashtag.

This is the second year the Alliance has partnered with n4a on the Our Best Shot campaign. Last year’s campaign reached more than 58 million Americans.

“We are excited to be working with the Alliance again on the Our Best Shot campaign," says Sandy Markwood, CEO of n4a. "The workshop kits were a great addition to the resources we provide to local Area Agencies on Aging, and we expect this year’s new resources to be just as helpful to our members as they conduct this vital outreach. Our members are a trusted resource to the older adults and caregivers they serve locally, and are ready to share the facts about vaccines, and remind older adults in their communities about the important benefits available through Medicare—including vaccines! This campaign is a great opportunity to remind older adults to take advantage of these services to stay healthy.”

About the Alliance for Aging Research
The Alliance for Aging Research is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application in order to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging and health. The Alliance was founded in 1986 in Washington, D.C., and has since become a valued advocacy organization and a respected influential voice with policymakers. Visit http://www.agingresearch.org for more information.

About the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) is a 501c(3) membership association representing America’s national network of 622 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and providing a voice in the nation’s capital for the 256 Title VI Native American aging programs. The mission of n4a is to build the capacity of its members so they can better help older adults and people with disabilities live with dignity and choices in their homes and communities for as long as possible. Visit http://www.n4a.org for more information.

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Noel Lloyd
@Aging_Research
since: 09/2011
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