Pneumonia is a serious lung infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 million Americans are hospitalized with pneumonia each year and 50,000 deaths are attributable to the disease.
PNEUMONIA VACCINE is recommended for everyone over age 65 and for those younger who are predisposed to getting pneumonia.
Per CDC (Centers for Disease Control), this is anyone ages 2 to 64 with Heart Disease, Lung Disease, Diabetes, Sickle Cell disease, Alcoholism, Cirrhosis, HIV infection or AIDS, absence of a spleen, kidney failure, organ transplant, certain kinds of malignancies, and those receiving steroid treatment, radiation therapy, and certain cancer treatment drugs.
In addition, all smokers are advised to stop smoking and to get pneumonia vaccine.
Pneumococcal Pneumonia has been a very common cause of pneumonia in adults. It was called "Lobar Pneumonia" in the past.
In the past, we used PPSV 23 (Pneumovax) for all such patients.
Recently, CDC and the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) updated the guidelines to also recommend PCV 13 (Prevnar)
In brief, it is recommended that all those in the high risk group receive both injections, at least a year apart.
Should you have already had PPSV 23, as many of our patients have, we will be recommending an update with PCV13 at your annual exam or wellness visit.
Neither of these vaccines contains live germs, so you cannot get pneumonia from the vaccines. The most common side effect is a sore arm.
In the March 19, 2015 New England Journal of Medicine, a team of investigators in the Netherlands studied the efficacy of PCV13 in those over 65. The vaccine was found to be safe and about 45 %effective at preventing Pneumococcal pneumonia. See the link below: