Pneumonia Vaccine Recommendations

Pneumonia Vaccine Recommendations

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At Lisa Larkin MD & Associates we are passionate about your preventive healthcare which includes vaccination needs. As you likely know, we partner with VaxCare to provide you routine vaccinations in our office. We would like to share an update in regard to pneumococcal vaccinations. Pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, sends about 1.3 million Americans to the hospital each year. Viruses, bacteria, and fungi can all cause pneumonia. Vaccines can prevent some types of bacterial pneumonia.

Typical symptoms of pneumonia are:

  • Productive cough, often with green or yellowish color
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain

Those most at risk for pneumonia are cigarette smokers, those with chronic health conditions, patients under age 5 and patients over age 65.

The two vaccines that have been routinely used for over 20 years are PCV13 (Prevnar 13) and PPSV23 (Pneumovax). Pneumovax 23 has for years been routinely given to all patients starting at age 65. More recently Prevnar 13 has also been given to patients over age 65. A second dose of Pneumovax is indicated for those with certain chronic medical conditions or immunocompromising conditions.

Recently a new pneumococcal vaccine, PCV20 (Prevnar 20)  has been added to the CDC’s recommendations. PCV20, manufactured by Pfizer, covers 7 more strains of pneumonia than PCV13. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has met and released their new recommended schedule for pneumococcal vaccines.  PPSV23 is no longer recommended as a routine vaccination for adults. The new recommendations are as follows:

CDC recommends PCV20 (Prevnar 20) AS A SINGLE PNEUMONIA VACCINE for:

  • Adults 65 years or older who have not received previous pneumococcal vaccines or vaccination history is unknown
  • Adults 19 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions or risk factors (discuss with your provider)
  • Anyone younger than 19 years old should not get this vaccine

Routine vaccination with PPSV23 (Pneumovax) is no longer needed if you get PCV20.

If you have already been vaccinated with both PCV13 and PPSV23, there is no need for you to get PCV20.

Frequently Asked Questions:  

What do I do if I had Prevnar but not Pneumovax?

For adults 65 years or older with a history of PCV13 vaccination without a history of PPSV23  the recommendation is to administer PPSV23 at least one year after as previously recommended.

For adults who have received PCV13 but have not completed their recommended pneumococcal vaccine series with PPSV23, one dose of PCV20 may be used if PPS23 is not available. If PCV20 is used, their pneumococcal vaccinations are complete.  

What if I had Pneumovax but not Prevnar? What do I do?

Administer PCV20 at least one year after PPSV23References: Immunize.org, ACIP, CDC