by Crystal Welch, MSN, HHQI RN Project Coordinator
We may be a few weeks away from the kickoff of football season, but now is the time to get your vaccination game started since August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports pneumococcal disease kills thousands of adults annually, including 18,000 adults aged 65 and older.
- Pneumococcal pneumonia (lungs) kills about 1 out of 20 who contracts the disease.
- Pneumococcal bacteremia (bloodstream) kills about 1 out of 6 who contracts the disease.
- Pneumococcal meningitis (lining of the brain and spinal cord) kills about 1 out of 6 who contracts the disease.
There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines currently available which are PCV13 (brand name Prevnar 13®) and PPSV23 (brand name Pneumovax 23®). PCV13 is recommended for all adults age 65 and older, adults age 19 and older with certain health conditions, and adults 19 and over who are taking medicine that lowers resistance to infection. PPSV23 is recommended for all adults age 65 and older, adults with certain health conditions or who smoke, and adults 19 or older who have a lower resistance to fight infection. All adults aged 65 years and older should receive both PCV13 and PPSV23 as long as they have no contraindication for vaccination. The vaccinations need to be separated into two separate visits according to the vaccine schedule. If a person has not received any pneumococcal vaccines, then they should first receive PCV13 followed by PPSV23 at least one year later. If a person has already received PPSV23, the dose of PCV13 should be given at least one year after they got their most recent dose of PPSV23.
The CDC recommends that everyone at this age, as well as those in a high risk group, get vaccinated against pneumonia twice in their lives. Because having the flu increases your chances of getting pneumococcal disease, it is important to get the influenza (flu) vaccine each flu season.
So how can we as homecare providers play a key role in increasing pneumococcal vaccination? Check out the HHQI Resources listed below for tools and resources:
- HHQI Immunization and Infection Prevention Best Practice Intervention Package (BPIP)
- Main package and 2016 Updates to Immunization Guidelines
- HHQI Influenza and Pneumococcal Immunizations Reports Resources
- About Pneumococcal Disease
- Pneumonia Can Be Prevented – Vaccines Can Help
- Facts about Pneumococcal Disease for Adults
- MMWR Intervals Between PCV13 and PPSV23 Vaccines
Remember, if you or a loved one is age 65 or older, getting vaccinated against pneumococcal disease is the best defense for your game!