We want to update you on the arrival of a new vaccine Prevnar 13, a booster vaccine for adults against more strains of Pneumonoccoal pneumonia. Probably because the original pneumococcal vaccine is named Pneumovax(PPSV23), there is confusion about what it protects you from. The Pneumovax protects against certain strains of the bacteria, Streptococcus pneumonia which has 90 strains (serotypes) which causes the very serious pneumococcal vaccine. This germ is one of many that can cause pneumonia and the only bacteria that we have a vaccine for.
The pneumococcal vaccine does not protect you from all causes of pneumonia.
About one million US adults get pneumococcal pneumonia every year and 5 to 7 percent will die from it. Fewer will get pneumococcal meningitis or sepsis, but the mortality rate in this group is higher (10 percent or more). In the US, pneumococcal pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections kill tens of thousands each year, including 18,000 adults age 65 years and older.
Pneumococcal disease can cause serious illness and lifelong complications. Pneumococcal meningitis can cause hearing loss, seizures, blindness, and paralysis. In its worst forms, pneumococcal disease kills one in every five people over the age of 65 who gets it. When Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets, died at 53 of pneumococcal pneumonia, there was a lot of publicity about the disease and the need for vaccination.
Who Needs Pneumococcal Vaccination?
Presently, adults aged 65 years and older need to get both the Pneumovax(PPSV23), the vaccine that most seniors have already received, and the new Prevnar 13, one year later. Adults less than 65 who need both of the pneumococcal vaccines are those that have no spleen, have a weakened immune system, or blood problems that impair ability to fight pneumococcal infections. Children under 5yrs are getting Prevnar 13(RCV13) with their standard immunization regime.
Please talk to your provider today about what vaccines you need.
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