Why No Shot For Pneumonia After Age 70
Dear Dr. Donohue Why does the medical profession tell us that folks over 70 do not need a pneumonia shot in the fall when they get their flu shots? Why do some say you should get the shot every year, while others say every other year, and some say every five years? Please clear up. S.M.
Answer The pneumonia shot is a vaccine for one kind of pneumonia, pneumococcal pneumonia, the kind caused by the bacterium pneumococcus . It’s a very serious kind of pneumonia, one that often proves lethal for the elderly.
The adult vaccine in use affords protection against 23 of more than 90 different strains. The name of the vaccine is Pneumovax 23. A single dose of the vaccine given to people age 65 and older is all the vaccine needed at the present time. However, if a person received the vaccine at an age younger than 65, that person does need a booster shot five years after the first shot was given.
Dear Dr. Donohue I recently read that mad cow disease and Alzheimer’s disease are a lot alike. Is there any truth to that? M.S.
Answer Mad cow disease is quite rare in North America. It’s not related to Alzheimer’s disease. It’s caused by an unusual germ called a prion a protein, a newly discovered life form. It’s an infectious disease. When humans are infected, their mental facilities fall apart somewhat rapidly.
Write Dr. Donohue at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, Fla. 32853-6475.
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.
Pneumonia In The Elderly: Symptoms Causes Treatment & Recovery
Pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, kills more than 50,000 Americans a year, the majority of whom are 65 or older. Pneumonia attacks air sacs in the lungs, causing them to become inflamed and sometimes filled with fluid. The air sacs are responsible for moving oxygen from the lungs to the blood, so pneumonia results in breathing problems and lowers the level of oxygen in the blood.More than 30 different organisms are responsible for the different kinds of pneumonia, which are classified by what kind of germ causes them and the setting in which people catch them.
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Everything You Need To Know About The Pneumonia Vaccine
During the winter months, many people think that they have a nasty cold or flu, but it turns out to be pneumonia an illness that can be life threatening in certain people. A vaccine can help lower your chance of contracting pneumonia. While the pneumonia vaccine does not prevent all cases of pneumonia, it reduces the severity of the disease.
That is especially important for older adults and if you have certain medical conditions that put you at greater risk for complications.
Now is the time to talk to your doctor about your risks and if you need a vaccine to protect you against pneumonia.
Niharika Juwarkar, MD, Internal Medicine with Firelands Physician Group, answers your most frequently asked questions about pneumonia and the risks.
What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a respiratory lung infection that is often mistaken for the flu. Your lungs become filled with fluid or pus that results in inflammation. Symptoms are very similar to the flu, but pneumonia can last for weeks and result in very serious complications.
While pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, most cases are due to a specific bacteria called streptococcus pneumoniae, more commonly known as pneumococcal pneumonia. This form can be treated with antibiotics. Your doctor can test to see what form of pneumonia you have. Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have and the severity of your symptoms. But, the best defense is vaccination.
Who is most at risk for pneumonia?
How Long Does The Pneumonia Vaccine Last
For most adults, one dose of the pneumonia vaccine should last a lifetime. In other words, you wont usually need to get another dose. This makes it different to the flu vaccine, which is given every year.
For some people, boosters of the pneumonia vaccine will be needed. This will be the case for people who have underlying health conditions that make them high-risk for pneumonia and related conditions. Your doctor will let you know if you need another vaccine.
If youre somebody who needs top-ups of the pneumonia vaccine, youll be able to receive them for free on the NHS.
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How Often Do I Need To Get The Pneumonia Vaccine
The pneumonia vaccine also known as the pneumococcal vaccine offers protection against several strains of bacteria that can cause pneumonia. There are two types of the vaccine, one of which is specifically designed for adults over the age of 65 and anyone particularly high-risk because of a long-term health condition. The other vaccine Prevnar 13 is available in our stores for adults aged 18 and over.*
Most adults getting the pneumonia vaccine will only need to get it once. Others who are high risk may need to get booster jabs every few years.
If youve never had the pneumonia vaccine, and you think you could benefit, you should check to see if youre eligible for it on the NHS. If not, you can book yours with us and have it in your local LloydsPharmacy.
How The Pneumococcal Vaccine Works
Both types of pneumococcal vaccine encourage your body to produce antibodies against pneumococcal bacteria.
Antibodies are proteins produced by the body to neutralise or destroy disease-carrying organisms and toxins.
They protect you from becoming ill if you’re infected with the bacteria.
More than 90 different strains of the pneumococcal bacterium have been identified, although most of these strains do not cause serious infections.
The childhood vaccine protects against 13 strains of the pneumococcal bacterium, while the adult vaccine protects against 23 strains.
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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.
Whats The Difference Between Pcv13 And Ppsv23
|helps protect you against 13 different strains of pneumococcal bacteria||helps protect you against 23 different strains of pneumococcal bacteria|
|usually given four separate times to children under two||generally given once to anyone over 64|
|generally given only once to adults older than 64 or adults older than 19 if they have an immune condition||given to anyone over 19 who regularly smokes nicotine products like cigarettes or cigars|
- Both vaccines help prevent pneumococcal complications like bacteremia and meningitis.
- Youll need more than one pneumonia shot during your lifetime. A 2016 study found that, if youre over 64, receiving both the PCV13 shot and the PPSV23 shot provide the best protection against all the strains of bacteria that cause pneumonia.
- Dont get the shots too close together. Youll need to wait about a year in between each shot.
- Check with your doctor to make sure youre not allergic to any of the ingredients used to make these vaccines before getting either shot.
- a vaccine made with diphtheria toxoid
- another version of the shot called PCV7
- any previous injections of a pneumonia shot
- are allergic to any ingredients in the shot
- have had severe allergies to a PPSV23 shot in the past
- are very sick
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- When should I make an appointment to get each type of pneumococcal vaccine?
- Should I still get the vaccines if Ive recently had pneumonia?
- Should I wait to turn 65 before I get each dose of pneumococcal vaccines?
- If I have a negative reaction to one type of pneumococcal vaccine, am I likely to have that same reaction to the other?
Funding was provided for these pneumococcal resources through an unrestricted grant from Pfizer Independent Grant for Learning and Change .
When Is The Pneumonia Vaccine Given
The pneumonia vaccine is not the same as the flu vaccine, as it doesnt need to be given at a certain time of year. Rather, it can be given at any time, as long as its safe for you to have it.
However, if youre in a high-risk group for pneumonia, you should get the vaccine as soon as possible to make sure youre protected.
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Types Of Pneumonia Vaccine
The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine also known as Prevenar 13 offers protection against 13 strains of pneumococcal bacteria. This type is given to young children as part of their routine NHS vaccinations. Its also available for adults under 65 through our vaccination service.
The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine also known as Pneumovax 23 offers protection against 23 strains of pneumococcal bacteria. This type is given to adults over 65 and anyone with a very high risk of pneumonia.
How Can Influenza Be Prevented
You can reduce the risk of getting influenza or spreading it to others by:
- Washing your hands regularly
- Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that people touch
- Promptly disposing of used tissues in the waste basket or garbage
- Coughing and sneezing into your shirt sleeve rather than your hands
- Staying home when you are ill
- Getting an influenza vaccine
Getting an influenza vaccine can help prevent you from getting sick with influenza and from spreading it to others.
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How Many Doses Of Pcv13 Can An Adult Get In A Lifetime Who/when
CDC recommends adults receive 1 dose of PCV13, if indicated and if they have not received PCV13 previously . In addition, adults age 65 or older who do not have an immunocompromising condition, cerebrospinal fluid leak, or cochlear implant can choose to receive PCV13 based on shared clinical decision-making. However, if an adult received a dose of PCV13 prior to turning 65 years of age , they should not receive a dose of PCV13 when they turn 65.
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 Should Seniors Know About The Inactivated Influenza Vaccine
Influenza vaccines are a safe and effective way to help people stay healthy, prevent illness and even save lives. As people age, they may be at higher risk of complications from influenza. For this reason, seniors age 65 years and older are advised to get an inactivated influenza vaccine or flu shot each year.
The inactivated influenza vaccine is provided free to seniors age 65 years and older. Contact your health care provider to get your influenza vaccine.
The inactivated influenza vaccine is safe. It contains killed influenza viruses that cannot cause influenza. Common reactions to the vaccine include redness, soreness or swelling where the vaccine was given.
Mild symptoms may occur in some people after being immunized, especially those receiving the vaccine for the first time. Symptoms can include fever, headache, aching muscles and fatigue that may last 1 to 2 days. These symptoms are less severe and last a shorter time compared to influenza infection.
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
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How Many Years Is A Pneumonia Shot Good For
The Pneumovax 23 covers twenty three different variants of the pneumococcal bacteria. In healthy adults, revaccination is not indicated . Patients with underlying chronic disease should probably be revaccinated every 5 years.
If I Inadvertently Administer Ppsv23 Less Than 8 Weeks After Pcv13 Do I Need To Repeat The Dose Of Either Vaccine
No, you do not need to repeat any doses. PPSV23 that follows PCV13 at less than 8 weeks may increase risk for localized reaction at the injection site, but remains a valid vaccination and you should not repeat it. The PCV13 dose also remains valid and you should not repeat it either. Never administer PPSV23 and PCV13 during the same visit.
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How Should I Approach Getting Vaccinated
Prioritizing is the name of the game plan during 2021 and 2022. Everyone really should’ve had the COVID vaccine by nowif they haven’t or they’re still sort of sitting on the fence, then preferably, the sooner the better, Dr. Wolfe says. Then, flu and/or pneumonia as you come into the winter.” Shingles is not seasonally dependent, “but people should talk to their doctor about it.
Ideally, you can piggybank some of these vaccines together. For instance, COVID with flu, or flu with pneumonia, or shingles with flu. For many years, we’ve done flu and pneumonia together, Dr. Wolfe says. I think trying to give people three vaccines at once is probably asking for a bit much, but certainly two at once can be done with no concerns.
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 .
Side Effects Of The Pneumococcal Vaccine
Like most vaccines, the childhood and adult versions of the pneumococcal vaccine can sometimes cause mild side effects.
- redness where the injection was given
- hardness or swelling where the injection was given
There are no serious side effects listed for either the childhood or adult versions of the vaccine, apart from an extremely rare risk of a severe allergic reaction .
About The Pneumonia Vaccine
Pneumonia is a common enough illness, but its one that can have potentially devastating reactions. Fortunately, theres a way to prevent the serious side effects of the disease, and possibly prevent someone from getting it to begin with.
The pneumonia vaccine is a safe way to prevent most cases, and effectively lowers the chances of catching the disease entirely. People who do get pneumonia after getting the pneumonia vaccination anyway will have a much milder case of the disease if they do happen to contract it.
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.