Friday, September 22, 2023

Do Seniors Need Two Pneumonia Shots

Four Vaccines Every Adult Ages 50

How long should you wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine after getting a pneumonia shot?

Many people tend to think of vaccines as something children get at their regular check-ups. But the truth is, patients of all ages need to keep up on their vaccines to make sure theyre protected against infections that can cause significant complications. Since our immune systems weaken as we get older, its especially important for adults over age 50 to stay current on their immunizations.

Here are four key vaccines that adults ages 50-65 should have to stay as healthy as possible.

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Should Adults Over 65 Get Prevnar 13

PCV13 is still a safe and effective vaccine, especially if you have medical conditions or live in a place with high risk of exposure to pneumococcal strains, such as a nursing home or long-term care facility. Doctors and their patients need to consider both the exposure risk and personal risks for each patient to decide whether Prevnar 13 is necessary. If you have questions about either vaccine, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

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According to the CDC, only about 70% of adults aged 65 and older ever receive a pneumococcal vaccination, either PCV13 or PPSV23. Hopefully, the new recommendations will encourage more people to get vaccinated since healthy adults now only need a single dose rather than two doses.

When To Get The Vaccine & What To Expect

Of course, before seeking the pneumococcal vaccines, its important to first speak with your primary care physician and other providers in your healthcare network. Both vaccines are safe but can have side effects and should be avoided by individuals with allergic reactions to any of the components in the vaccine. Keep in mind, its recommended that you not receive both vaccines at the same time. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine if both vaccinations are the right choice for your needs. If both vaccines are needed, PCV13 should be given prior to PPSV23. Its important to schedule a separate visitation at least one year after the professionally suggested PCV13 vaccination to receive a dose of the PPSV23 vaccine.

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New Pneumococcal Vaccine Guidance For Seniors In 2022 Adult Immunization Schedule

Seniors and those who are immunocompromised have new guidance regarding the pneumococcal vaccine in the 2022 adult immunization schedule, according to the Annals of Internal Medicine. These changes, recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, pertain to the zoster, pneumococcal and hepatitis B vaccines. The new guidelines also state that COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered with other vaccines.

Among the other recommendations, for those 65 and over who have not gotten a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or who have unknown vaccination histories, it is recommended that they receive 1 PCV15 dose or 1 dose of PCV20. Furthermore, if PCV15 is the dose administered, the second dose should be PPSV23. This guidance is now in the Routine vaccination section.

People in the age range of 19 to 64 with applicable underlying medical conditions or other risk factors who have not gotten the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or who have an unknown vaccination history should receive one dose of PCV15 or 1 dose of PCV20. If the dose received is PCV15, then the following dose should be PPSV23. This updated guidance is listed in the Special situations section.

It also is now recommended that everyone ages 19 to 59 years of age receive the hepatitis B vaccine, and adults over age 60 at risk for hepatitis B virus infection.

What Are The Side Effects

What Pneumonia Shots Do Seniors Need

Prior to its approval, Prevnar 20 was studied in six clinical trials. Across these studies, reported side effects were similar for all ages. Most of them were mild to moderate in severity. Like many other vaccines, pain at the injection site is reported as the most common side effect.

Additional common side effects of Prevnar 20 can include:

  • Muscle pain

  • Joint pain

  • Injection site swelling

Although most of these side effects happened within 7 to 10 days of the shot, less than 2% of people experienced one or more serious adverse events within 6 months. However, it hasnt been confirmed that these events were due to the vaccine.

The safety of Prevnar 20 was studied in people who have no history of pneumococcal vaccination, in individuals who have previously received Prevnar 13, and in individuals who have previously received Pneumovax 23. No notable safety differences were seen between the vaccines.

Next, well discuss who should receive Prevnar 20.

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Two Pneumonia Shots Safest For Seniors Despite New Advisory Advocacy Group Says

A U.S. government agency has dropped its 2014 recommendation that all adults aged 65 and older receive two pneumonia vaccines in a series, but a leading senior health advocacy group says the move could lead to more illness.

The Center for Disease Control and Preventions Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices this Wednesday recommended that the decision to be vaccinated with pneumococcal conjugate should now be shared by physician and patient. However, it continues to advise that all adults in this age group receive the other vaccine, pneumococcal polysaccharide, and that immunocompromised adults receive both vaccines in a series.

In response, the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs said the change may cause confusion and lead to an uptick in pneumonia. We have concerns that this change will result in more seniors contracting pneumococcal disease. Each year, approximately 18,000 Americans die from pneumococcal disease and its complications, it wrote.

Long-term, the change may lead to reduced Medicare coverage and lack of access, NANASP suggested. represented a disappointing compromise, Bob Blancato, executive director of the NANASP, told McKnights in an email. They went against a strong public sentiment reflected in comments made by their own liaison representatives and more than three quarters of comments sent to their portal to maintain their 2014 recommendation.

Flu And Pneumonia Shots Offer Double Protection For Seniors

Excerpt: Flu and pneumonia shots for older adults are especially important this fall to protect their own health, the health of others and to keep the Canadian healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed in a pandemic. The high-dose flu vaccine is an option to consider because it offers seniors stronger protection. Getting a pneumonia shot is also recommended to reduce the risk of pneumonia, an important cause of hospital emergency visits.

To breathe easier this fall and winter, it is especially important for older adults to get vaccinated against both the flu and pneumonia for their own health and the health of others.

Health authorities are urging Canadians to get a flu shot this fall to avoid a twindemic, in which large numbers of people become seriously ill, or hospitalized, as influenza and COVID-19 circulate at the same time,* says the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. While the flu shot doesnt directly protect people against COVID-19, its vital for older adults and those with high-risk conditions to protect themselves against the flu since hospitals and other healthcare facilities could become overwhelmed if they need to treat both flu and COVID-19 patients.*

Being vaccinated for the flu could also help reduce unnecessary testing for COVID-19* since many symptoms of both illnessessuch as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny or stuffed nose, and muscle achesare similar,* according to Mayo Clinic.

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Recommended Vaccine For Adults 65 And Over

Flu vaccines There are special kinds of flu vaccines for people aged 65 and older that are different than regular flu shots. High-dose and adjuvanted flu vaccines give a stronger immune response than regular flu shots. This means better protection against flu illness. Adults 65 and older may get a regular flu vaccine, the high-dose, or the adjuvanted vaccine. Your doctor or pharmacist will help you understand which flu shot is right for you. Get your flu vaccine every year as soon as vaccine is available, usually in late summer or early fall.

Here is more information about flu and flu shots:

Pneumococcal vaccines There are two pneumococcal vaccines. Talk with your healthcare provider to find out which of these vaccines are right for you.

  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. You should get this vaccine if youre 65 or older, or younger than 65 and smoke, have asthma, or other certain medical conditions. You may need booster doses if you have a high risk medical condition.
  • If you have a condition that weakens the immune system or if you have certain medical conditions, you should get the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine . This vaccine protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria. Adults 65 years and older with a healthy immune system should discuss with their healthcare provider the need to get PCV13.

Tdap or Td vaccines

Who Is Recommended To Get Prevnar 20

Watch: Past vs Present

Although adults ages 18 and older are eligible to receive Prevnar 20, its not yet certain how Prevnar 20 will be used alongside Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23.

The CDCs Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices develops recommendations on how to use vaccines. Although Prevnar 20 was approved last week, the CDC and ACIP have yet to incorporate Prevnar 20 into its overall recommendations.

According to Pfizer, ACIP is expected to meet in to discuss updated recommendations on the use of pneumococcal vaccines in adults.

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When Is The Best Time Of Year To Get A Flu Shot

You should get the flu shot each year at least 2 weeks before the flu virus starts spreading in your community. In the Northern Hemisphere , the flu shot typically becomes available around September of each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting the flu vaccine no earlier than September and no later than the end of October. Basically, you want to time it just right so that you are fully vaccinated when the flu virus starts to circulate, but not too early that your immunity runs out before the end of the flu season .

Its Covered By Medicare

If you have medical coverage provided by the federal government or a Medicare plan from a private insurance company, both types of pneumococcal vaccines are covered. In fact, they are covered 100 percent when given at least 12 months apart. To learn more about how vaccines are covered by Medicare, check out this article.

I really encourage you to get your pneumococcal vaccine if you havent already. Its one of the best ways to protect yourself from serious infections after age 65, and itll help keep you healthy and doing what you love most.

And remember, if you have a private health plan you can always call your member services team with any questions about coverage.

Save time by asking for the pneumococcal vaccine at your next annual physical!

Connect with experts

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Who Should Get Vaccinated This Fall

Really, everyone over 6 months old should get the flu shot, especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although you can still get the flu even after youve been vaccinated knowing youve had it will likely help your healthcare team diagnose you if you develop symptoms that may be shared by COVID-19 and flu, such as:

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Are You 65 Or Older Get Two Vaccinations Against Pneumonia

What Pneumonia Shots Do Seniors Need
  • 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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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

Tdap Vaccine And/or The Td Booster

Who needs it: The Tdap vaccine came out in 2005, and along with protecting against tetanus and diphtheria, like the vaccine it replaced, it also includes new, additional protection against whooping cough, also known as pertussis. If you cant remember ever getting this shot, you probably need it. And doing so, says Katz, can also count for one of the Td boosters youre supposed to get every 10 years.

How often: You get Tdap only once, and after that, you still need the Td booster every 10 years. Otherwise, your protection against tetanus and diphtheria will fade.

Why you need it: Due to a rise in whooping cough cases in the U.S., you really do need to be vaccinated against it, even if youre over 65. In the first year after getting vaccinated, Tdap prevents the illness in about 7 out of 10 people who received the vaccine.

Talk to your doctor if you: Have epilepsy or other nervous system problems, had severe swelling or pain after a previous dose of either vaccine, or have Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Parting shot: This vaccine is especially crucial for people who have close contact with infants younger than 12 months of age including parents, grandparents, and child care providers.

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What Is The Cost Of The Flu Shot

You may have concerns about the cost of getting an annual flu vaccination. The cost varies depending on where you go and whether you have insurance. In some cases, you may be able to get the flu shot free of charge or at a low cost.

Typical prices for the adult flu vaccine range between $0 and $40 , depending on the vaccine you receive and your insurance coverage.

Ask your doctor about getting the flu shot during an office visit. Some pharmacies and hospitals in your community may provide vaccinations. You can also research flu clinics at community centers or senior centers.

Note that some of the typical providers like schools and workplaces may not offer them this year due to closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Use websites like Vaccine Finder to find locations near you that offer the flu vaccine, and contact them to compare costs.

The sooner you get a vaccination, the better. On average, it can take up to 2 weeks for your body to produce antibodies to protect against the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a flu shot by the end of October.

Path To Improved Health

COVID-19 booster shots: Answering your questions

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:

  • cough
  • 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.

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Booster Doses Of Pneumococcal Vaccine

If you’re at increased risk of a pneumococcal infection, you’ll be given a single dose of the PPV vaccine.

But if your spleen does not work properly or you have a chronic kidney condition, you may need booster doses of PPV every 5 years.

This is because your levels of antibodies against the infection decrease over time.

Your GP surgery will advise you on whether you’ll need a booster dose.

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