Pneumococcal Vaccine Guidance for Seniors Simplified

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published simplified pneumococcal vaccine recommendations for seniors and the immunocompromised. The changes were unanimously endorsed by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices following a recent review of vaccine efficacy and cost issues.  

Pneumococcal vaccines protect individuals from multiple Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, which can cause pneumonia and respiratory failure. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pneumococcal Conjugated Vaccine 20, known as PCV20 (Prevnar 20), and PCV15 (Vaxneuvance) in 2021.  

The new CDC guidance states that individuals aged 65 and older who have never had the pneumococcal vaccine are eligible for either PCV15 or PCV20. Those same vaccines can be administered to individuals aged 19–64 with certain medical conditions or risk factors. A proposed change to lower the offering age of PCV20 to individuals aged 50 and older was rejected by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.   

For individuals receiving the PCV15 vaccine, the agency recommends a follow-up dose one-year later of Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine 23, known as PPSV23 (Pneumovax 23). The guidance also discusses dosing schedules, vaccination for adults previously vaccinated with PPSV23 or PCV13 (Prevnar 13), and co-administering pneumococcal vaccines with other vaccines.  

Download the free tip sheet, Pneumococcal Vaccine Guidance Simplified, or read more here.