Updated
June 27th, 2019

Switching to PCV13 Delivered Positive Benefits

13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) was associated with major declines in pneumococcal disease later in life

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The switch from the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) to the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) in children was associated with major declines in pneumococcal disease later in life as adults, according to research published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.   

Most importantly, this new study reported from the pre- to post-PCV13 period, invasive pneumococcal diseases (IPD) rates declined 5 percent. 

Additionally, all-cause hospitalized pneumonia (ACHP) rates declined 4 percent across age and risk groups, these researchers wrote. 

These researchers used a retrospective design and 2 large healthcare claims repositories to evaluate changes in rates of IPD among US adults, to better understand the impact of the switch to the PCV13 vaccine. 

This analysis was limited to hospitalized patients with pneumonia to focus attention on cases that are more likely due to pneumococcal disease. 

Despite recommendations for PCV13 immunization in adults with immunocompromising conditions beginning in 2012, the uptake in senior adults was still relatively small by the end of our study period, which was December 2015. 

This data supports the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which reported that only 22.9 percent of senior adults had received PCV13 by 2015.   

‘In summary, the findings of this large observational study suggest that the switch to PCV13 was associated with large declines in IPD among all US adults irrespective of age and risk profile and with substantial decreases in ACHP in US adults except those over 75 years of age.’ 

‘In the long term, we need new strategies such as expanded valency vaccines or modulation of the chronic inflammatory state associated with chronic disease and aging. In the short term, pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations are recommended for prevention, and uptake of both is below recommended levels for adults,’ said these researchers. 

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An estimated 30,400 cases and 3,690 deaths from invasive pneumococcal diseases (IPD-bacteremia and -meningitis) occurred in the United States in 2016, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).   

Pneumococcal disease is caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, a bacterium that has more than 90 serotypes, says Immunize.org.

Most serotypes cause disease, but only a few produce the majority of invasive pneumococcal disease. The 10 most common serotypes cause 62 percent of invasive disease worldwide.

It can cause ear infections, and it can also lead to more serious infections of the: 

  • Lungs (pneumonia)
  • Blood (bacteremia)
  • Covering of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) 

Most private health insurance policies cover pneumococcal vaccines and Medicare Part B also covers 100 percent of the cost for both pneumococcal vaccines.

Vaccine discount information can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC. 

These researchers did not disclose any conflicts of interest.