Wednesday, September 10, 2014

People over 65 may need two pneumonia vaccines

If you are creaking around or maybe have a parent who is, you might want to ask about the pneumonia vaccine situation.

An advisory panel to the CDC recently recommended that people get a second vaccine called Prevnar 13 in addition to the older one, Pneumovax 23.

Both are usually given once in older people--or sometimes every 10 yrs. They both protect against the strep form of pneumonia--but work different ways.

Almost a million people a year get this pneumonia each year and up to 7% die from it.

The vaccines also protect against bacteremia (bloodstream disease) and meningitis.

BUT--the CDC did say it would revisit the decision on Prevnar 13 in 2018 if the number of people getting sick declines enough.

Prevnar 13 has been used in kids and enough were vaccinated to prevent outbreaks (herd effect).

This 13 stuff is also expensive--$135. The other one is $68. Medicare may not cover it or at least not until 2016.

About 60% of oldies have had the first shot.

I have no idea where this is going. I hate to say it--but ask your doctor.

I have had two of the first shots--and got pneumonia.

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