WellPoint urges flu vaccinations for seniors

WellPoint, Inc., the largest managed healthcare company of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, recently urged senior citizens to be vaccinated against influenza and pneumonia.

WellPoint said that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that nearly everyone be properly vaccinated against flu and pneumonia. The company said it was particularly important that seniors - adults aged 65 or older - be vaccinated because as people age it becomes more difficult for them to fight illness.

One-third of those aged 65 or older do not get an annual flu shot, and more than one-third have never been vaccinated against pneumonia in their lives, according to the CDC.

"With few exceptions, there really is no reason for seniors not to get their vaccines, including their flu and pneumonia vaccines," Dr. Karen Amstutz, WellPoint's medical director for Medicare and Medicaid products, said. "Studies have shown that these vaccines are generally safe and effective. They also are easy to get and typically paid for by Medicare."

While it is most beneficial to get the seasonal flu shot vaccine in the autumn, flu season does not generally peak until January or February, meaning it is not too late to be protected. The pneumonia vaccine is generally offered throughout the year.