Updated
June 29th, 2019

Pneumococcal Vaccination Modified Guidelines For Seniors

Pfizer Prevnar 13 is a pneumococcal 13-valent Conjugate Vaccine

older man drawing a picture

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to revise the pneumococcal vaccination guidelines and recommend Prevnar 13 for adults aged 65 and older based, on the shared clinical decision making of the provider and patient.   

The ACIP, which is the vaccine committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vote on June 26, 2019, means the decision to vaccinate should be made between healthcare providers and their patients. 

In 2014, the ACIP voted to recommend Prevnar 13, a pneumococcal 13-valent Conjugate Vaccine, for adults 65 years or older. 

“This revised recommendation reinforces direct vaccination remains the best available tool to help prevent against pneumococcal disease,” said Luis Jodar, Pfizer Vaccines, Chief Medical, and Scientific Affairs Officer. 

“And the revised recommendation emphasizes the importance of the health care professional and patient relationship in shared decision making regarding vaccination, said Dr. Jodar, in a Pfizer press release. 

Previously, Prevnar 13 was recommended by the ACIP in 2012 for adults 19 years of age and older with immunocompromising conditions, such as HIV, chronic renal failure, cancer, functional or anatomic asplenia, cerebral spinal fluid leak, and Cochlear implants. 

Recent pneumococcal vaccine news:

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says vaccines help prevent pneumococcal disease, which is any type of infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.

There are 2 kinds of pneumococcal vaccines available in the United States:

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine

The CDC recommends the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine for all adults 65 years or older, people 2 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions, and adults 19 through 64 years old who smoke cigarettes.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FOR PREVNAR 13:

  • Severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to any component of Prevnar 13®or any diphtheria toxoid-containing vaccine is a contraindication
  • Immunocompromised individuals or individuals with impaired immune responsiveness due to the use of immunosuppressive therapy may have reduced antibody response
  • In adults, the most common side effects were a pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site, limitation of arm movement, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, decreased appetite, vomiting, fever, chills, and rash
  • Apnea following intramuscular vaccination has been observed in some infants born prematurely. Vaccination of premature infants should be based on the infant's medical status, and the potential benefits and risks
  • In infants and toddlers, the most commonly reported serious adverse events were bronchiolitis (0.9%), gastroenteritis (0.9%), and pneumonia (0.9%)
  • In children, 6 weeks through 17 years, the most commonly reported solicited adverse reactions were injection site tenderness, redness, or swelling, irritability, decreased appetite, decreased or increased sleep, and fever.

The Prevnar 13 vaccine does not protect against diseases caused by S. pneumoniae serotypes that are not in the vaccine.

Relevant Links:  CDC vaccination schedules, CDC vaccine price list,international travel alerts, and report vaccine side effects.