The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has made some new recommendations regarding the administration of the pneumococcal vaccine (“pneumonia shot“), which is given to prevent infections from the type of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus).Â These bacteria can invade the lungs (causing pneumonia), or the bloodstream (causing bacteremia) or the tissues and fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord (causing meningitis). Pneumococcal infection kills thousands of people in the United States each year, most of them 65 years of age or older.
If you are over 65 years of age, unless you have a medical reason to not receiveÂ it, the pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for everybody.Â The ACIP also recommends a slightly different pneumococcal vaccine for all children under two years of age.Â The new recommendations, however, are directed at people between 19 and 65 years of age who have chronic health problems or who smoke or have asthma.
Who should get the pneumococcal vaccine?
- (New) AdultsÂ aged 19–64 years with chronic medical conditions, including those who have asthma, congestive heart failure, COPD, diabetes mellitus, alcholism, or liver disease among others.
- (New) Adults aged 19–64 years with immunosupressive conditions such as sickle cell disease, leukemias, blood cell cancers, multiple myeloma, organ transplantation, and others.
- (New) Adults aged 19–64 years who smoke cigarettes.
- No longer recommended for Alaska Natives or American Indians aged <65 years unless they have chronic medicalÂ conditions.
- All persons should be vaccinatedÂ at age 65 years.
- Those who receivedÂ vaccination before age 65 years for any indication should receive another dose of the vaccine at age 65 years or later if at least 5 years have passed since their previous dose.
- Those who receiveÂ the vaccineÂ at or after age 65 years should receive only a single dose.
“Getting the proper vaccinations is very important to good health“
– Dr. Richard Sudmeier, MD, Internal Medicine, Avera Worthington Specialty Clinic
If you have questions, please see your doctor.