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Two Pneumococcal Vaccines Advised for Seniors

ACIP advises both Prevnar 13, Pneumovax 23 vaccines for adults 65 and older

TUESDAY, Feb. 3, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Adults 65 and older need two pneumococcal vaccines to better protect them from sepsis, meningitis, and pneumonia, according to a revised vaccination schedule from the 2015 Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The new recommendations were published in the Feb. 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The committee recommended that seniors get both the Prevnar 13 and the Pneumovax 23 vaccines. Sandra Fryhofer, M.D., adjunct associate professor of medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and author of an accompanying editorial in the journal, told HealthDay that since these new recommendations come from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccination committee, both vaccines should be covered by health insurance companies. And, as of Feb. 2, Medicare should cover them as well.

However, both shots must be given at different times. "These vaccinations cannot be given at the same time, because they induce an immune response in a different way," Fryhofer said.

For older adults, the Prevnar 13 vaccine is generally given first and then the Pneumovax 23 vaccine 12 months later. If someone has already had the Pneumovax 23, they can get the Prevnar 13 immunization 12 months later, according to Fryhofer.

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