From the joint annual meeting of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy and the Infectious Diseases Society of America
Do you smoke? That’s now reason enough for you to receive the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, according to the latest recommendations–approved just last week–from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/acip/default.htm.
I heard some some buzz about this new recommendation while covering the joint annual meeting of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, affectionately known as ICAAC/IDSA.
Dr. Pekka Nuorti of the CDC dropped this potential bombshell into his talk about tools to prevent pneumococcal disease in adults.
Dr. Nuorti conducted a study published in 2000 which found that smokers accounted for more than half of the pneumococcal disease cases in adults younger than 65 years. The new indication for the vaccine represents a risk-based approach to reducing pneumococcal disease, compared to an age-based approach, he noted. In addition, ACIP is now recommending the vaccine for all adults with asthma. The previous recommendation was age-based, and simply recommended vaccination for all adults aged 65 years and older.
This change would increase the number of people who would need the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, and the question and answer session here at ICAAC/IDSA included questions about the possible need for boosters for younger adults, and whether those who are exposed to secondhand smoke eventually would become targets for vaccination. Also, a new pneumococcal vaccine for adults may be available in less than 5 years, so is it worth it to vaccinate large numbers of adults, only to possibly re-vaccinate them in the near future? And what if someone has only recently quit smoking?
Dr. Nuorti was just the messenger, and he didn’t have the answers to these questions, which will likely be ongoing. Certainly members of this audience, which included clinicians and research scientists, were debating the pros and cons of these new indications among themselves.