Are You Protected from Getting Pneumonia?

Submitted by the Bedford Board of Health

The Bedford Board of Health will provide Pneumococcal vaccination for Bedford residents 65 years of age and over, by appointment. Both Pneumovax-23 and Prevnar-13 vaccines are available. The CDC now recommends that all adults 65 years and older receive two types of pneumococcal vaccine: Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar-13) which protects against 13 strains of pneumococcus bacteria and Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Pneumovax-23) which protects against 23 strains of pneumococcus bacteria.

Adults age 65 years and older who have not previously received Prevnar-13 and/or Pneumovax-23 should receive both vaccines in a series, with Prevnar-13 dispensed first. Adults age 65 years and older who have previously received one or more doses of Pneumovax-23 should receive a dose of Prevnar-13, but it must be at least 1 year after the receipt of the most recent Pneumova-23 dose. Both types of Pneumococcal vaccines, Prevnar-13 and Pneumovax-23, are available from the Board of Health. You are recommended to discuss with your primary care doctor whether the pneumococcal vaccine is appropriate for you.

The vaccines are purchased through the Board of Health vaccine reimbursement program, so we will need to verify with your health insurance provider whether you are eligible for the reimbursement program. For an appointment, please call the Board of Health at 781-275-6507 with your health insurance information and past history of pneumococcal shots. Appointments for receipt of the pneumococcal vaccine will be in January 2017.

Each year in the United States, about 18,000 adults 65 years or older die and thousands more end up in the hospital because of pneumococcal disease. The best way to prevent pneumococcal disease is by getting vaccinated. Pneumococcal disease is caused by the Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria which can lead to serious infections of the lung (pneumonia), blood (bacteremia) and the covering of the brain (meningitis).  The risk of getting Pneumococcal disease is significantly higher for adults 65 years of age and older. Younger people who have long term health problems, diseases leading to a weakened immune system, or who are taking drugs or treatments that lower the body’s resistance to infection are also at risk. In addition, any adult who is a smoker or has asthma is recommended to receive the vaccine. If you have question regarding whether you should have the vaccine(s), you are advised to call your doctor.

Once you receive your appointment time, please bring all your insurance cards and wear clothing that allows for easy access to your arm for vaccine administration.

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