All adults ages 19 to 64 with cancer and other certain underlying medical conditions (eg, diabetes, chronic heart disease, chronic lung disease, or chronic liver disease, HIV) should discuss pneumococcal vaccination with their physicians.
Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by a type of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae. It can cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections, or meningitis. Pneumococcal disease is spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing, and close contact. Some people, especially children, can carry the bacteria in their nose and throat without being sick and can spread the bacteria to others.
Anybody can get pneumococcal disease, but some individuals are at higher risk of the infection or its complications than others.
Cancer patients are at higher risk, especially those undergoing stem cell transplant, CAR T cell therapy or other therapies that significantly suppress the immune system. They discuss timing of vaccination with their doctor-its recommended that vaccination occur 3-6 months following treatment.
- Individuals with cancer
- anyone under 2 years old or more than 65 years old
- anyone with an underlying medical condition
- those with chronic diseases including diabetes, kidney disease, alcohol use disorder, spleen dysfunction
- people who live in long-term care facilities
- anyone who smokes tobacco
- people with a hearing aid known as a cochlear implant
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The US FDA recommends vaccination with a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for individuals at increased risk. The following vaccines are available,
- Prevnar 20: A 20-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
- Vaxneuvance 15: A 15-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. If PCV15 is used, this should be followed by a dose of Pneumovax.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to Prevnar 20 in June 2021 for the prevention of pneumonia and invasive disease caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 6B, 7F, 8, 9V, 10A, 11A, 12F, 14, 15B, 18C, 19A, 19F, 22F, 23F, and 33F in adults 18 years of age and older.
1. Advisory committee on immunization practices votes to recommend routine use of Pfizer’s Prevnar 20™ (pneumococcal 20-valent conjugate vaccine) in adults. News release. Pfizer Inc. October 20, 2021.
2. CDC ACIP unanimously votes to provisionally recommend Merck’s Vaxneuvance™ (pneumococcal 15-valent conjugate vaccine) in Series with Pneumovax® 23 (pneumococcal vaccine polyvalent) as an option for pneumococcal vaccination in appropriate Adults. News release. October 20, 2021.