What is pneumococcal disease?
Pneumococcal disease is caused by pneumococcus. It is a bacteria. It can infect the lungs (causing pneumonia), blood,
and brain. These infections can be serious
and hard to treat. Pneumococcus can also
cause ear and sinus infections. Some types
of this bacteria resist antibiotics.
Am I at risk for pneumococcal disease
Anyone can get it. But some people are at greater risk. People who are 65 years of age and older are
at high risk. So are smokers and people
who abuse alcohol. Conditions that put
people at high risk are:
heart, or liver disease, and diabetes
system impairment (e.g., cancer, HIV, immune disease, no functioning spleen,
chronic steroid medication such as prednisone, sickle cell disease,
chronic renal disease, organ transplant)
implant or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak
What pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines
Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23 are available. They cover different types of pneumococcus bacteria, with some overlap.
Do I need both Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23?
If your immune system is impaired, you need both vaccines.
What if my immune system is
Pneumovax 23 is recommended. Prevnar
13 is also recommended. However, new evidence suggests that Prevnar 13 may not be necessary for some seniors. This isn’t because Prevnar 13 doesn’t
work well…it does. It is because the
infections prevented by Prevnar 13 are now less common in our
communities. This is due to years of
vaccinating children with Prevnar 13.
The CDC is looking at this new
evidence and may change their recommendations about Prevnar 13 later
this year. Speak with your healthcare
provider if you have any questions.
What else can I do to prevent
pneumococcal disease and pneumonia?
a flu shot every year. (Getting the
flu ups your risk of pneumococcal disease and pneumonia.)
you smoke, stop.
healthy. Control lung disease
(e.g., asthma, COPD), heart disease, and diabetes.
your hands often. Practice good
may not cover all possible information.
It does not replace the need for professional medical care. Always follow the instructions from your
healthcare provider.] [September 2019; 350901]