FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Actor Lee Majors joins NCOA's Flu + You program

Actor Lee Majors, known for his iconic role on the television series, "The Six Million Dollar Man," joined a campaign on Tuesday meant to inform adults 65 and older about the dangers of the flu.

The National Council on Aging's Flu + You program provides information to older adults, their caregivers and their loved ones about the importance of annual flu vaccination and available vaccine options. Majors will appear in a public service announcement about vaccine options and getting vaccinated against influenza.

"I get the flu shot every year and encourage my peers to do the same - it's a simple step you can take to protect yourself from the flu," Majors said. "I urge everyone 65 years of age and older to talk to their health care provider about their vaccine options this flu season."

Approximately nine out of 10 flu-related deaths in the U.S. and more than six out of 10 flu-related hospitalizations occur in people 65 years of age and older. Older adults are at a greater risk for flu and its complications due, in part, to a weakened immune system.

"The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine as the single best way to protect yourself from the flu, yet a third of people 65 and older still don't get vaccinated," Richard Birkel, the NCOA's senior vice president for healthy aging, said. "As NCOA continues to educate older adults about the flu and the potential severity of the illness, we hope to encourage more people to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting an annual flu shot."

The flu vaccine is the best defense to protect against the flu and its complications. All flu vaccines are covered as a Medicare Part B benefit.

Flu can be particularly dangerous for people with kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and cancer, conditions that commonly affect older adults.

The National Council on Aging is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit service and advocacy organization focused on improving the lives of older adults.