• September 19, 2020

STONE: One vaccine you shouldn’t forget about - Odessa American: Levi Stone

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STONE: One vaccine you shouldn’t forget about

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Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2020 4:30 am

September is prime month to get your influenza vaccine for protection against this year’s flu season. As important as a flu shot is, there’s another significant vaccine to consider that isn’t necessarily COVID-19 specific. It’s estimated that about 900,000 Americans get pneumococcal pneumonia each year and that between 5-7 percent die from it.

Pneumococcal diseases are caused by a bacterium known as Streptococcus pneumoniae, which include the likes of not only pneumonia, but also ear and sinus infections, or even severe bloodstream infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pneumococcal pneumonia is the most common form of pneumococcal diseases in adults.

Taking your health into account and exploring available preventive measures, it’s important to include a discussion about pneumococcal vaccination with your primary healthcare provider and if you meet the criteria for this vaccine.

There are two different vaccines available to help prevent illnesses related to the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. While both can be effective, part of the discussion with your healthcare provider will decide which one best suits your needs.

The first, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (also known as PCV13 or by its trade name Prevnar13), is given to children in the first two years of life, to all adults over the age of 65, and to younger adults with certain conditions that weaken their immune systems. This vaccine protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria and is

The second vaccine, pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (also known as PPSV23 or by its trade name Pneumovax) extends protection against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. It is recommended for all adults aged 65 years or older and for those 2 years and older at high risk for disease including, but not limited to HIV, chronic illnesses of the heart, lungs, liver, and/or kidneys, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, and those with cochlear implants. Anyone who smokes also falls into a greater risk category in which the PPSV23 vaccine might be more appropriate.

Regardless if you have had one pneumococcal vaccine or the other, current guidelines recommend certain individuals receive both the PCV13 and PPSV23 to insure complete coverage and protection against pneumococcal diseases. These recommendations are in accordance with those of the United States Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and are as follows:

For adults 19 to 64 years of age at intermediate risk of pneumococcal disease (i.e. cigarette smokers; patients with chronic heart disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes mellitus, alcoholism, or chronic liver disease), should receive PPSV23 alone.

For adults aged 19 or older, at high risk of pneumococcal disease (i.e. an immunocompromising condition such as HIV infection or cancer, a cerebrospinal fluid leak, a cochlear implant, or advanced kidney disease), these patients should receive PCV13 followed at least eight weeks later by PPSV23. In patients who have already received PPSV23, at least one year should elapse before they are given PCV13.

For all adults more than 65 years of age, PCV13 is recommended followed by PPSV23 6 to 12 months later. In those who have already received PPSV23, at least one year should elapse before they are given PCV13.

A single revaccination with PPSV23 is recommended in adults more than 65 years of age if they were vaccinated more than five years previously at a time when they were less than 65 years of age and, in immunocompromised patients, five years or more after the first dose. Some experts continue to recommend administration of PPSV23 every six to seven years for individuals who have had their spleen removed or their spleen is not functioning properly. Revaccination with PCV13 is not recommended.

PCV13 is not recommended for healthy adults less than 65 years of age who do not have a specific risk factor for pneumococcal infection.

The CDC also cites most pneumococcal deaths (more than 95% of all cases) in the United States are in adults. However, 67 million adults at increased risk remain unvaccinated. These statistics draw a conclusion that greater awareness needs to be made about pneumococcal vaccination options available to the public.

Vaccination is one the safest and effective ways to protect you and your loved ones. Hospitals around the country, including those in the Permian Basin, see their share of hospital admission and even re-admissions, attributed to pneumococcal diseases that otherwise could’ve been prevented had patients made the effort to get vaccinated.

If you fall within the guidelines of these recommendations for pneumococcal vaccinations, schedule an appointment with your primary care provider to discuss options and get vaccinated. Doing so will afford you greater protection against pneumococcal diseases and the dangers associated with these illnesses.

Odessa, TX

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