Pneumonia vaccine will make you breathe easier

Related articles

vaccineYesterday we discussed the remarkable efficacy of routine vaccines against previously dangerous infections, particularly measles, and what happens when parents fail to vaccinate their children.

The good news continues. Now there is additional evidence about the utility of vaccines against community acquired pneumonia (CAP) an infection that is transmitted outside of the hospital. (Hospital-acquired infections are referred to as nosocomial.)

There are now two pneumonia vaccines that are being used. However, new clinical evidence show that Pfizer s Prevnar-13 pneumonia vaccine may be superior in protecting against 13 strains of CAP even in drug resistant pneumococcal pneumonia.

ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom, a former researcher in infectious diseases says, In light of the escalating crisis of formerly effective antibiotics no longer working, it is especially important to prevent an infection that will be even harder to treat because of antibiotic resistance. There are some strains of pneumonia that are resistant to four common classes of antibiotics. It is far easier to prevent these than treat them.

The following is a summary of results from the ongoing CAPITA (Community-Acquired Pneumonia Immunization Trial in Adults) trials of Prevnar-13:

  • The vaccine was about 46 percent effective in preventing the disease in adults aged 65+
  • It was 62 percent effective in preventing antibiotic-resistant disease in children who were 5 or younger.

The data were presented at the IDWeek 2014 conference, during which lead researcher Sara Tomczyk of the CDC explained, Pneumococcal infections can cause several clinical syndromes, including ear infection, pneumonia, and more serious infections such as meningitis and blood infections.

Ms. Tomczyk also addressed the issue of antibiotic resistance: We re at risk of living in a post-antibiotic world, where these miracle medications no longer work, but this vaccine is part of the solution to protecting ourselves from the growing threat of antibiotic resistance. Not only does this vaccine prevent pneumococcal infection, which means fewer antibiotics are prescribed, but it also prevents antibiotic-resistant infections.

For more information on CAPITA, we suggest you read Matthew Herper s Forbes post from February, 2014.