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CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE
- Now is an excellent time to give pneumococcal
polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23) to your patients at risk!
- Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine resources for health
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November 6, 2000
NOW IS AN EXCELLENT TIME TO GIVE PNEUMOCOCCAL POLYSACCHARIDE VACCINE (PPV23) TO YOUR PATIENTS AT RISK!
By Deborah L. Wexler, MD
Executive Director, Immunization Action Coalition
In light of the recent FDA licensure of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) and the publication of the
Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) statement regarding its use, now is a good time to review
the importance of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23) as well.
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23) can be given now or anytime to unvaccinated adults 65 years of age and
older and to people under the age of 65 who have risk factors for pneumococcal disease.
Each year in the United States, pneumococcal disease causes an estimated 500,000 cases of pneumonia, 50,000 cases of
bacteremia, 3,000 cases of meningitis, and at least 20,000 deaths. With national statistics indicating that
only 46 percent of adults aged 65 and older are vaccinated, we can do better.
You needn't wait to give this vaccine along with influenza vaccine. You can protect your patients any time they come
to your office during the year. The vaccine can be given simultaneously with all other vaccines (e.g., influenza,
tetanus-diphtheria, hepatitis A and B), and there are no minimum spacing intervals. If your patient is not sure if
he or she has been previously vaccinated and no record is immediately available, the patient should be
Who needs pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine? Millions of people.
PPV23 is routinely recommended for everyone 65 years of age and older. And many people younger than 65 (as young as 2
years of age) with certain diseases should be vaccinated as well.
For example, you should vaccinate people with chronic health conditions such
as cardiovascular disease (including congestive heart failure and
cardiomyopathies), chronic pulmonary disease (including COPD and emphysema),
alcoholism, diabetes mellitus, asplenia, compromised immune systems, and many more.
IAC offers an information page for health professionals called "Pneumococcal
vaccine: Who needs it and who needs it again?" Immunization expert William L. Atkinson, MD, MPH,
medical epidemiologist at CDC's National Immunization Program, answers many common questions about
pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23), who needs it, and its administration. To obtain a copy in camera-ready copy
(PDF format), go to: http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/2015pne.pdf
To obtain a copy in web text (HTML format), go to: http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/2015pne.htm
To obtain a camera-ready copy (PDF format) of "Prevention of Pneumococcal Disease: Recommendations of the Advisory
Committee on Immunization Practices" published on April 4, 1997, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr//PDF/rr/rr4608.pdf
For the web text version (HTML format), go to:
To obtain a copy of the pneumococcal polysaccharide Vaccine Information Statement (PPV23) in nine
languages, go to:
Special thanks to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for providing
the Haitian Creole translation and to the Minnesota Department of Health for
translations in Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
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November 6, 2000
PNEUMOCOCCAL POLYSACCHARIDE VACCINE RESOURCES FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) offers a variety of online resources concerning the use of pneumococcal
polysaccharide vaccine. Materials are available for health care providers, clinics, and long-term care
facilities, as well as general patient education.
One of the new resources featured is the Pneumococcal Immunization Project's "Qwik Planner for Clinics," a guide
designed to help health care providers determine which interventions will work best in their clinics to
improve their immunization rates for the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. Other pieces include planning
checklists and patient assessment tools for the use of PPV23 vaccine in clinics and long-term care facilities.
To visit the pneumococcal prevention page at the MDH website, go to: