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New Recommendations for Pneumonia Vaccination in Seniors

Many adults are at risk for pneumococcal disease. There are now two vaccines that provide protection against this serious and sometimes deadly infection.

Bartlesville, Okla (November 10, 2015) -- Many adults are at risk for pneumococcal disease.  There are now two vaccines that provide protection against this serious and sometimes deadly infection.

Pneumococcal pneumonia, a lung infection marked by fever, cough and chest pain, is the most common form of pneumococcal disease in adults.  It is estimated that about 900,000 Americans are infected each year leading to between 45,000 and 63,000 deaths.  In addition, the same bacteria that cause pneumonia can cause meningitis and bacteremia (a bloodstream infection), which together results in approximately 3,700 deaths annually.  The infections are typically treated with antibiotics, but several types of the bacteria have become resistant to many of those medications.  Therefore, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Preventions (CDC), the best way to prevent pneumococcal disease is by vaccination.

As of August 2014, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is now recommending that adults age 65 and older receive two pneumococcal vaccinations – the traditional vaccine (Pneumovax 23) as well as a newer formula (Prevnar 13).  As their names imply, Prevnar 13 protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria, and the Pneumovax 23 protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria.  In addition to protection against the various strains, the two vaccines work differently to initiate an immune response which appears to offer broader protection.  Both are well tolerated, with the most common side effects being redness, pain, and swelling at the injection site. Serious or life-threatening reactions from the vaccines are very rare.

For adults greater than 65 years of age who have not been vaccinated, it is recommended to receive Prevnar 13 first, followed by the traditional Pneumovax 23 one year later.  For adults who previously received one or more doses of Pneumovax 23, the Prevnar 13 vaccine is recommended and a discussion with your physician or pharmacist is needed to determine if or when you may need an additional dose of Pneumovax 23.  This is determined by a combination of factors, including age and time elapsed since the previous vaccination.  Each vaccine is needed only once after the age of 65, and the time interval between the two vaccines should be at least 12 months.

Each of the pneumonia vaccinations are now covered completely by Medicare Part B.  Historically, Medicare Part B provided reimbursement for only one pneumococcal vaccine once in a beneficiary’s lifetime.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has updated its policy to reflect the new CDC recommendation.   CMS will cover the second vaccination a minimum of one year after the first was administered.

For any additional questions regarding the Pneumococcal vaccine or any other vaccinations please contact Jane Phillips Medcare Pharmacy at (918) 331-1540.   In addition to the pneumococcal vaccines, Medcare Pharmacy also offers vaccinations for Influenza, Shingles and Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis.  Our pharmacists would be happy to help you determine your specific vaccination needs.

Jane Phillips MedCare Pharmacy:

  • Jane Phillips MedCare Pharmacy is staffed by three pharmacists and two pharmacy technicians. Pharmacists include Jerusha Coward, Pharm.D., Erin Claiborne, DPh., and Mark Jones, DPh. The pharmacy techs are Gina McCauley and Marilyn Guffey.
  • Full retail prescription services.
  • Over-the-counter medications.
  • Medela breast pump supplies and rentals.
  • Gift shop—home decor, jewelry, candles, baby gifts, plush, and more.
  • Reduce multiple trips to the pharmacy with our prescription synchronization program.
  • Bedside discharge prescription delivery services.
  • Reserved MedCare Pharmacy parking available close to the main entrance.
  • Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Located in the main lobby of Jane Phillips Medical Center.
  • Reserved MedCare Pharmacy parking available close to the main entrance.
  • Phone: 918-331-1540

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