According to WebMD News, adults 65 years and older need two vaccines to better protect them from pneumonia, meningitis, and bacterial infection in the blood. The revised vaccination guidelines are from the 2015 Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. ACIP is the vaccine advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The committee recommended that seniors get both the Pneumovax 23 and Prevnar 13 vaccines. The WebMD news report notes that Prevnar 13 protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria and Pneumovax 23 protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. Dr. Sandra Fryhofer, an author of an accompanying editorial in the journal, explains that the vaccines work in different ways to seemingly offer broader protection.

Fryhofer notes that added protection is particularly important for older adults because they’re much more vulnerable to serious infections. Fryhofer states, “The risk of invasive pneumococcal disease in older adults is nearly 10 times that of young adults.”

Data from the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases (NFID) reveals that about 1 million adults in the US get pneumococcal pneumonia annually, and as many as 7% die from these infections, as noted on the WebMD news report.

Fryhofer says the vaccinations must be administered at different times, adding, “These vaccinations cannot be given at the same time, because they induce an immune response in a different way.”

Dr. David Kim, the CDC’s deputy associate director for adult immunizations, states, “All adults aged 65 years or older should talk to their health care providers about getting pneumococcal vaccines for protection against pneumococcal diseases.”

Source: WebMD News