Concurrent Administration Of Vaccines
Pneumococcal vaccines may be administered concomitantly with other vaccines, with the exception of a different formulation of pneumococcal vaccine . There should be at least an 8 week interval between a dose of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and a subsequent dose of Pneu-P-23 vaccine, and at least a 1 year interval between a dose of Pneu-P-23 vaccine and a subsequent dose of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine refer to Immunocompromised persons for information regarding administration of pneumococcal vaccines to HSCT recipients. Different injection sites and separate needles and syringes must be used for concurrent parenteral injections. Refer to Timing of Vaccine Administration in Part 1 for additional information about concurrent administration of vaccines.
Some Adults Are At A Higher Risk For Pneumococcal Disease Than Others
In 2019, approximately 43% of IPD cases in adults occurred in those aged 65 years or older, whereas half were in adults aged 19-64 years who were at increased risk for pneumococcal disease. This indicates that more than 90% of current IPD burden is in these two populations.
Chronic health conditions or other factors that increase risk for pneumococcal disease include:
Sickle cell disease or other hemoglobinopathies
Solid organ transplant
What Is A Pneumococcal Vaccine
A pneumococcal vaccine is an injection that can prevent pneumococcal disease. A pneumococcal disease is any illness that is caused by pneumococcal bacteria, including pneumonia. In fact, the most common cause of pneumonia is pneumococcal bacteria. This type of bacteria can also cause ear infections, sinus infections, and meningitis.
Adults age 65 or older are amongst the highest risk groups for getting pneumococcal disease.
To prevent pneumococcal disease, there are two types of pneumococcal vaccines: the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine and the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine .
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How Much Will It Cost
At this time, Prevnar 20s list price hasnt been announced. However, this vaccine will likely be common for older adults, and its expected that Medicare will cover the bill. Pneumococcal vaccines are a cost-free benefit of Medicare Part B, and people with original Medicare or Medicare Advantage can receive covered pneumococcal vaccines with specific providers.
If you have Medicaid, check with your state Medicaid agency to see which vaccines are offered. Many Medicaid plans pay for some vaccines, but specific coverage varies.
All Health Insurance Marketplace plans and many private plans cover pneumococcal vaccines when provided by an in-network provider, but costs can vary depending on the specific insurance plan.
For people without insurance or adequate coverage, financial assistance and coupon programs may be available. Check back with GoodRx to find more ways to save and make your vaccinations more affordable.
Are The Pneumonia Vaccines Safe
Yes, pneumonia vaccines are safe. Like all vaccines, they go through rigorous scientific testing and review. Although both pneumococcal vaccines can cause mild side effects, severe reactions to the vaccines are rare. In one study of adults over age 70 who received the PCV13 and PPSV23 vaccines, there was only one adverse event that was related to the vaccine.
Allergic reactions to vaccines are rare, but they can occur and may be serious. If you have had an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients in the pneumococcal vaccines or to a prior dose of a pneumococcal vaccine, you should not get vaccinated without talking to your healthcare provider first.
If you have questions about whether the pneumonia vaccines are safe for you, discuss this with your healthcare provider. You can also find information about pneumococcal vaccine safety here.
How Does The Pneumonia Vaccine Work
There are currently two vaccines administered in the United States:
Are You 65 Or Older Get Two Vaccinations Against Pneumonia
- By Gregory Curfman, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Former Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Health Publishing
ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
If you or a loved one is age 65 or older, getting vaccinated against pneumonia is a good idea so good that the Centers for Disease Control now recommends that everyone in this age group get vaccinated against pneumonia twice.
This new recommendation is based on findings from a large clinical trial called CAPiTA, which were published today in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Streptococcus pneumoniae, sometimes just called pneumococcus, is a common bacterium that can cause serious lung infections like pneumonia. It can also cause invasive infections of the bloodstream, the tissues covering the brain and spinal cord , and other organs and tissues. Older individuals are especially prone to being infected by Pneumococcus, and these infections are often deadly.
The dark spots are pneumonia-causing Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria isolated from the blood of an infected person.
One caveat is that while PCV13 is effective in preventing pneumonia caused by S. pneumoniae, it does not prevent pneumonia caused by viruses or other bacteria.
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Path To Improved Health
Pneumococcal vaccines can protect you against getting pneumonia, which is contagious and spreads from close, person-to-person contact. Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs and can lead to many symptoms, including:
- chest pains
- bringing up mucus when you cough
For seniors, pneumonia can be very serious and life-threatening. This is especially true if you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or COPD. Pneumonia can also develop after youve had a case of the flu or a respiratory virus such as COVID-19. It is extremely important to stay current on flu shots each year in addition to your pneumococcal vaccines.
While PPSV23 and PCV13 do not protect against all types of pneumonia, they can make it less likely that you will experience severe and possibly life-threatening complications from the illness.
The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that seniors who have not had either pneumococcal vaccine should get a dose of PCV13 first, and then a dose of PPSV23 6-12 months later. The vaccines cannot be given at the same time. If you have recently had a dose of PPSV23, your doctor will wait at least one year to give you PCV13.
Vaccines Recommended For Adults Age 65 And Older
Vaccines are an important step in protecting your health and the health of your family. Vaccines are particularly important for older adults. Risks to certain diseases are higher for this age group since it can be more difficult to fight off infections as your immune system naturally weakens as you get older.
These infections, such as flu, pneumonia, shingles, tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough and COVID-19, increase your risk for complications, which can lead to long-term illness and hospitalization.
There are five vaccines adults age 65 and older should consider to prevent certain diseases:
- Influenza vaccine
- Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine
- COVID-19 vaccine
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Persons With Chronic Diseases
Refer to Immunization of Persons with Chronic Diseases in Part 3 for additional information about vaccination of people with chronic diseases.
Asplenia or hyposplenia
Hyposplenic or asplenic individuals should receive Pneu-C-13 vaccine and Pneu-P-23 vaccine, followed by a booster dose of Pneu-P-23 vaccine. Refer to Table 3, Table 4 and Booster doses and re-immunization for additional information.
Chronic kidney disease and patients on dialysis
Individuals with chronic kidney disease should receive age appropriate pneumococcal vaccines. Children less than 18 years of age with chronic kidney failure or nephrotic syndrome, should receive Pneu-C-13 vaccine and Pneu-P-23 vaccine. Adults with chronic kidney failure should receive Pneu-P-23 vaccine. Adults with nephrotic syndrome should receive Pneu-C-13 and Pneu-P-23 vaccine. Due to the decreased immunogenicity and efficacy of Pneu-P-23 vaccine in children and adults with chronic kidney failure, 1 booster dose of Pneu-P-23 vaccine is recommended. Refer to Table 3, Table 4 and Booster doses and re-immunization for additional information.
Chronic lung disease, including asthma
Chronic heart disease
Chronic liver disease
Endocrine and metabolic diseases
Non-malignant hematologic disorders
What Is The Pneumonia Shot
The pneumonia shot is a vaccine that keeps you from getting pneumonia. There are two types of vaccines. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is primarily for children under age two, though it can be given to older ages, as well. The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is for adults over age 65.
The pneumonia vaccine for older adults is one dose. Unlike the flu vaccine, you dont get it every year.
The vaccine teaches your body to make proteins that will destroy the pneumonia bacteria. These proteins are called antibodies and they will protect you and keep you from getting infected. The pneumonia vaccines dont have live bacteria or viruses in them, so you wont get pneumonia from the vaccine.
You should have the pneumonia vaccine if you:
- Are over age 65
- Have a long-term health problem
Vaccines dont prevent all pneumonia, but people who get the shot dont get as sick as those who dont have it. Benefits of the vaccine include:
- Milder infections
- Ringing in your ears
If you know you dont like needles or feel worried before getting a vaccine, you can try to look away while you have the shot. You can also try a relaxation technique like deep breathing or visualization to help you feel calm.
Older people are more likely to have long-term health problems that can make getting an infection dangerous. The pneumonia shot is recommended for most people.
When To Get The Vaccine
Thereâs no such thing as pneumonia season, like flu season. If you and your doctor decide that you need to have a pneumonia vaccine, you can get it done at any time of the year. If itâs flu season, you can even get a pneumonia vaccine at the same time that you get a flu vaccine, as long as you receive each shot in a different arm.
What Are The Most Common Side Effects Of Pneumovax 23 And Prevnar 13
Side effects with pneumococcal vaccines are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days.
Common side effects of Prevnar 13 include:
Injection site pain
Common side effects of Pneumovax 23 include:
Injection site pain
Be sure to talk with your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time.
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Effectiveness Of The Pneumococcal Vaccine
Children respond very well to the pneumococcal vaccine.
The introduction of this vaccine into the NHS childhood vaccination schedule has resulted in a large reduction in pneumococcal disease.
The pneumococcal vaccine given to older children and adults is thought to be around 50 to 70% effective at preventing pneumococcal disease.
Both types of pneumococcal vaccine are inactivated or “killed” vaccines and do not contain any live organisms. They cannot cause the infections they protect against.
Who Should Get The Vaccine
People over age 65. As you age, your immune system doesnât work as well as it once did. Youâre more likely to have trouble fighting off a pneumonia infection. All adults over age 65 should get the vaccine.
Those with weakened immune systems. Many diseases can cause your immune system to weaken, so itâs less able to fight off bugs like pneumonia.
People who smoke. If youâve smoked for a long time, you could have damage to the small hairs that line the insides of your lungs and help filter out germs. When theyâre damaged, they arenât as good at stopping those bad germs.
People getting over surgery or a severe illness. If you were in the hospital ICU and needed help breathing with a ventilator, youâre at risk of getting pneumonia. The same is true if youâve just had major surgery or if youâre healing from a serious injury. When your immune system is weak because of illness or injury or because itâs helping you get better from surgery, you canât fight off germs as well as you normally can.
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What You Should Know About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs that typically stems from several kinds of germs, most often bacteria and viruses.
Symptoms can develop gradually or suddenly. They include:
- Chest pain.
- Loss of appetite.
Early detection is often challenging because many people with these symptoms assume they have a cold or the flu.
Its important to also note that the vaccine helps protect against some but not all bacterial pneumonia.
There are dozens of different types of bacterial pneumonia, says Dr. Suri. The vaccine will certainly reduce your risk of the most common bacterial pneumonia.
Patients In Health Care Institutions
Residents of long-term care facilities should receive Pneu-P-23 vaccine. Refer to Recommendations for Use for information about pneumococcal vaccination of individuals at increased risk of IPD. Refer to Immunization of Patients in Health Care Institutions in Part 3 for additional information about vaccination of patients in health care institutions.
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What Are The Side Effects Of The Pneumonia Vaccines
PCV13 and PPSV23 can both cause mild side effects. Both pneumococcal vaccines are given in the arm and are injected into muscle. Children and adults may experience arm soreness, swelling, or redness where the shot was injected. Other side effects that may occur in adults include:
PCV13 should not be given to children at the same time as the annual flu shot, because of an increased risk of . These seizures are caused by a high fever and occur in up to 5% of children under 5. They can be scary, but dont cause any long-term health problems.
The good news is that the side effects will resolve on their own within a few days.
Is Prevnar 13 Or Pneumovax 23 More Effective
We know that both Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23 are safe, and also effective in preventing pneumonia, so we look to the CDC for recommendations. Most adults over 65 will receive one dose of Prevnar 13 and one dose of Pneumovax 23, one year apart, with certain exceptions.
The basic recommended schedule is outlined below, but you can find more detailed information here.
The CDC recommends:
- Routine administration of Prevnar 13 for all children younger than 2 years of age as a four-dose series at ages two months , four months , six months , and 12-15 months .
- Routine administration of Pneumovax 23 for all adults age 65 years or older.
- Administration of Prevnar 13 for adults age 65 years or older who do not have an immunocompromising condition, cerebrospinal fluid leak, or cochlear implant, and have never received a dose of Prevnar 13.
*For exceptions and catch-up schedule, see link above.
Consult your healthcare provider for guidance about pneumonia vaccines.
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Who Should Get Vaccinated Against It
Three vaccines are now available to help prevent pneumococcal disease. Before the FDA approval of Prevnar 20, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the use of two other pneumococcal vaccines and . You can read more about them here.
The CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for all children under 2 years old and all adults at least 65 years old. Although pneumococcal disease can affect people of all ages, younger children and older adults are most at risk.
Depending on vaccination history and the presence of certain medical conditions, other people may also need to receive pneumococcal vaccinations. If you arent sure of your pneumococcal vaccination history, speak to your healthcare provider.
How Much Do Pneumovax 23 And Prevnar 13 Cost
Pneumovax 23 and Prevnar 13 can be quite expensive without insurance. One dose of Pneumovax 23 currently costs around $135 cash price, while one dose of Prevnar 13 costs around $250 cash price. With a GoodRx coupon, you might be able to reduce your cost for these to around $90 and $195, respectively. Read here for information on how to use a GoodRx coupon for vaccines.
All health insurance marketplace plans under the Affordable Care Act, and most other private insurance plans, must cover pneumococcal vaccines without charging a copayment or coinsurance when an in-network provider administers the vaccine even if you have not met a yearly deductible. Medicare does not cover either vaccine.
Remember: The recommendations for who should get a pneumonia vaccination are based on risk factors and age, so be sure to talk to your doctor if you think you might need one. You should be able to receive both Pneumovax 23 and Prevnar 13 at your local pharmacy. Depending on which state you live in, these vaccines may not require a prescription. Be sure to reach out to your pharmacist for more information. The CDC has more information about these vaccinations here.
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