Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) remains a leading infectious cause of serious illness among older adults in the United States, where it results in hospitalization or death for thousands each year. Pneumococcal disease can cause severe infections of the lungs (pneumonia), bloodstream (bacteremia), and lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). Vaccinations are the best way to prevent pneumococcal disease.
There are two vaccines that can prevent pneumococcal disease:
- PCV13 (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine)
- PPSV23 (pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine)
- In 2013 an estimated 13,500 cases of IPD occurred among adults aged ≥65 years
- Approximately 20%–25% of IPD cases and 10% of community-acquired pneumonia cases in adults aged ≥65 years are caused by PCV13 serotypes and are potentially preventable with the use of PCV13 in this population
- Use of PCV13 since 2010 among children in the United States has reduced pneumococcal infections indirectly among adults. By 2013, the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) caused by serotypes unique to PCV13 among adults aged ≥65 years had declined by approximately 50% compared with 2010, when PCV13 replaced PCV7 in the pediatric immunization schedule.