The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its adult pneumonia vaccination recommendations – a change that affects people over the age of 19 who have asthma or are smokers as well as everyone over the age of 65.
There are two pneumonia vaccines currently recommended by CDC: the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13), used in children since 2010, and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23), approved for adults over 65 and others at high risk of pneumonia. Each protects against a slightly different selection of the more than 100 strains of pneumonia that have been identified.
Now, CDC is recommending the following adults receive a dose of both vaccines:
- Adults over 65
- Adults over 19 with heart, lung or liver problems, including asthma and diabetes (see cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pneumo/vac-PCV13-adults.htm#recommendations for full details)
- Adults over 19 with compromised immune systems
- Adults over 19 who are smokers
The shots cannot be given at the same time. Adults who have already received PPSV23 can get PCV13 a year later; those who need both should receive PCV13 first, followed by PPSV23 6-12 months later.
Certain high-risk children should also get both vaccines, but children with asthma are not in this high-risk group.
Pneumonia immunization programs have led to a significant reduction in pneumonia infections caused by strains of bacteria included in the vaccinations, including significant reductions in infections caused by antibiotic resistant strains, according to Martha White, MD, board-certified allergist at the Institute of Asthma and Allergy in Wheaton, Md.
Talk with your doctor about whether you or your child should receive the pneumonia vaccine. For more information from CDC, visit www.cdc.gov/features/adult-pneumococcal.