March 9, 2015 – The CDC recently (September 19, 2014 to be exact) changed its recommendations regarding vaccination for bacterial Streptococcus pneumoniae. Vaccination against Streptococcus pneumoniae is important for many reasons. Streptococcus pneumoniae is known for affecting your lungs leading to pneumonia, however it also can cause ear and sinus infections. More seriously the bacteria can lead to invasive pneumococcal infection and can quickly spread, infecting your bloodstream leading to a bacteremia (blood stream infection) and your brain leading to meningitis.
SHOULD YOU BE VACCINATED?
There are two versions of the pneumococcal vaccine:
- Prevnar© (Wyeth) which is also known as PCV or PCV 13
- Pneumovax© (Merck) which is also known as PPV or PPV23
The CDC now recommends both vaccinations for those who are at increased risk:
- Adults 65 or older
- Children younger than 5 years old
- People with chronic medical issues (asthma, diabetes, heart disease, smokers)
Talk with your doctor regarding your vaccinations. Your doctor will likely address it at your yearly physical exam and for those who have Medicare at your Annual Wellness Exam. If your doctor forgets…you can certainly ask questions…remember we are human too!
Kharia J. Holmes, M.D., is part of Carroll Health Group in Westminster, MD and sees patients in the Carroll Lutheran Village office. She earned her medical degree from Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga., and completed her internal medicine residency and a geriatric fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.