As cough and cold season approaches, we’ve been seeing an uptick in the amount of pneumonia vaccine orders and questions. The CDC currently recommends that adults greater than 65 years old should get both the Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23. It’s especially important to make sure the residents with high risk diagnoses (diabetes, COPD, heart failure, chronic liver disease) receive these vaccines.
In residents with no prior pneumonia vaccinations, Prevnar 13 should be given first. This helps to improve the body’s immune response to the vaccine. After one year, the Prevnar 13 should be followed by the Pneumovax 23.
If your resident has already received Pneumovax 23 but not the Prevnar 13, that is alright. The Prevnar 13 can still be given one year after the Pneumovax. If your resident can’t remember if they have ever been given either vaccine, then it will not hurt to assume no vaccination was given and to start the Prevnar 13.
A few more pneumonia vaccine facts:
- Giving both of these vaccines in seniors is estimated to prevent 230 cases of invasive pneumonia and 12,000 cases of community-acquired pneumonia in their lifetime.
- Medicare Part B covers both vaccines at zero cost to the resident.
- It is okay to give these vaccines at the same time as many other vaccinations, such as their annual flu shot or a shingle vaccination.
As always, if you have any questions or would like more information regarding pneumonia vaccination (or any vaccination for that matter), please contact the pharmacy.
Thanks for reading!
Drew Curtis, PharmD