POSITION PAPER ON PNEUMOCOCCAL VACCINATION
FOR OLDER PERSONS AND HIGH-RISK ADULTS
About the paper
Pneumococcal disease poses significant morbidity and mortality worldwide, especially among young children, older persons, and individuals with underlying medical conditions1. The global burden of pneumococcal disease in adults is not widely studied. However, population-based data in developed countries on invasive pneumococcal disease suggested an annual incidence of ≥15-20 cases per 100,000 persons of all ages and ≥50 cases per 100,000 elderly adults (≥65 years)2. Vaccination is one of the best ways to protect children and adults against pneumococcal disease and its potentially deadly complications3.
While universal pneumococcal vaccination among young children has been widely practised, the same cannot be said about adults. A survey conducted by the Malaysian Thoracic Society (MTS) in 2021 painted a bleak picture with only 24% and 26% of respondents believing that adults above the age of 50 and those with chronic conditions need to be vaccinated against pneumococcal disease respectively4.
There is a clear need to step up adult pneumococcal vaccination advocacy. Thus, this position paper aims to provide actionable recommendations for all relevant stakeholders, especially healthcare professionals, to make pneumococcal vaccination for older persons and other high-risk adults a norm and standard of care.
- National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. (2023, May 1). Pneumococcal disease. National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. https://www.nfid.org/infectious-diseases/pneumococcal/
- Fedson, D. S., Anthony, J., & Scott, G. (1999). The burden of pneumococcal disease among adults in developed and developing countries: What is and is not known. Vaccine, 17. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0264-410x(99)00122-x
- National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. (2018, September). Pneumococcal Disease: Background and Vaccine Recommendations. National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. https://www.nfid.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/pneumococcal-disease-backgrounder-2.pdf
- CodeBlue. (2021, May 21). Why the elderly should get pneumococcal vaccine. CodeBlue. https://codeblue.galencentre.org/2021/05/21/why-the-elderly-should-get-pneumococcal-vaccine/