Hillary Clinton's Health: Learn More About Pneumonia2016-09-20
With the press discussing Hillary Clinton’s recent bout with pneumonia, there is no better time for a reminder about pneumonia - a fully vaccine-preventable infection.
Pneumonia is a common but serious infection of one or both lungs, caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. Anyone, regardless of age, can acquire pneumonia. The infection causes symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing, high temperature, and pain in the side of the chest. Full recovery can take weeks, or even months.
Pneumonia is commonly acquired by young children, individuals with chronic conditions, and older adults. The immune systems of these population groups are, respectively, building immunity, coping with strained immune systems, or declining slightly in efficiency.
Even though vaccines are available to prevent cases of pneumonia, 600,000 to 800,000 adults worldwide succumb to the disease each year. In the United States alone, pneumonia is among the top ten leading causes of death.
A simple preventative tool such as vaccination can mitigate the severe risks of pneumonia. Nonetheless, vaccination is severely underutilized in the older adult population, where uptake rates remain well below the recommended percentages. Ensuring older adults are up-to-date with appropriate vaccinations can reduce unnecessary infections, associated complications, and hospitalizations.
With this in mind, it is important to know the approved pneumococcal vaccines and the populations they are recommended for:
• The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria and is recommended for children under the age of 5 years, all adults 65 years and older and adults 19 years or older with conditions that weaken the immune system.
• The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria and is recommended for those 2 years or older and all adults 65 years and older that are at high risk for this infection.
IFA’s Expertfile is home to a number of top international experts on adult vaccination, all whom are available for media comment and speaking opportunities on this pressing issue.