CDC Advisory Committee recommends single dose of PPSV23 (23–valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine) for all senior citizensOct. 1, 2009 - Senior citizens may have relaxed about the H1N1 flu shot, convinced it seems more likely to attack younger people, but they do have vaccinations they should worry about. They should not only be getting their vaccination for the seasonal flu but need to get their pneumonia vaccination, too, according to an alert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many people who have died from H1H1 this year were also infected with pneumonia bacteria, warns the CDC.
These co-infections with a common bacteria (Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus) likely contributed to their death, according to a report published in the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Pneumonia is an inflammation of one or both lungs, usually caused by infection from a bacterium or virus.CDC is reminding people of the importance of being vaccinated against this common bacterium and advising them to talk with their doctor.CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends a single dose of PPSV23 (the 23–valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine) for all people 65 years and older and for persons 2 to 64 years of age with certain high-risk conditions. People in these groups are at increased risk of pneumococcal disease as well as serious complications from influenza. A single revaccination at least five years after initial vaccination is recommended for people 65 years and older who were first vaccinated before age 65 years as well as for people at highest risk, such as those who have no spleen, and those who have HIV infection, AIDS or malignancy. All people who have existing indications for PPSV23 should continue to be vaccinated according to current ACIP recommendations during the outbreak of novel influenza A(H1N1). Emphasis should be placed on vaccinating people aged less than 65 years who have established high-risk conditions because PPSV23 coverage among this group is low and because people in this group appear to be overrepresented among severe cases of novel influenza A (H1N1) infection, based on currently available data. >> Recommended adult immunization schedule - United States, 2009 >> PPSV23 guidance for H1N1 “Our influenza season is off to a fast start and unfortunately there will be more cases of bacterial infections in people suffering from influenza,” said CDC Epidemiologist Dr. Matthew Moore. “It′s really important for people, especially those at high risk for the serious complications from influenza, to check with their provider when they get their influenza vaccine about being vaccinated against pneumococcus.” The CDC report included an analysis of specimens taken from 77 fatal cases of 2009 H1N1. Bacterial co-infections, including some caused by Streptococcus pneumonia, were noted in about a third of those cases. The CDC does not have senior citizens on a high priority for the H!N! vaccination, due to an apparent immunity found in seniors. For more detail see story linked in sidebar above on left.