Should I continue to vaccinate my 65 years or older patients with pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13)?

The 2020 U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has revised its previous 2014 guidelines from routinely vaccinating all adults 65 years or older with PCV13 to a more selective vaccination approach based on shared clinical decision-making in the absence of immunocompromising conditions, cerebrospinal fluid leak or cochlear implant. 1

More specifically, ACIP recommends that we “regularly” offer PCV13 for patients 65 years or older who have not previously received PCV13 in the following settings:

  • Residents of nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
  • Residents of settings with low pediatric PCV13 uptake
  • Travelers to settings with no pediatric PCV13 program

ACIP also recommends that we consider offering the PCV13 to patients with chronic heart, lung, or liver disease, diabetes, or alcoholism, those who smoke cigarettes, or those with more than 1 chronic medical condition.

Why the change in recommendations? The primary reason is sharp declines in pneumococcal disease in unvaccinated children and adults due to the widespread use of PCV7 and PCV13 in children, resulting in prevention of transmission of vaccine-type strains.  

These recommendations do not apply to the pneumococcal 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23), however. All adults 65 years or older should continue to receive a dose of PPSV23. 

Bonus Pearl: If a decision is made to administer PCV13 to an adult 65 years old or older, PCV13 should be administered first, followed by PPSV23 at least 1 year later.

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  1. Freedman M, Kroger A, Hunter P, et al. Recommended adult immunization schedule, United States, 2020. Ann Intern Med 2020; [Epub ahead of print 4 February 2020]. Doi:
  2. Matanock A, Lee G, Gierke R, et al. Use of 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine among adults aged ≥65 years: updated recommendations of the advisory committee on immunization practices. MMWR 2019;68:1069-75.


Should I continue to vaccinate my 65 years or older patients with pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13)?

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