Posts Tagged ‘pneumococcal vaccine’

Some Things You Outgrow as an Adult. Vaccines Aren’t One of Them.

August 17, 2017 1 comment


Did you know that vaccines are recommended for people of all ages?

Even if you were fully vaccinated as a child, the protection from some vaccines you received can wear off over time and you may need a booster. There also are specific vaccines that you may need as you get older based on your age, job, lifestyle, travel, or other health conditions.

Below are 5 reasons adults need vaccines:


1) Every year, thousands of adults in the U.S. suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, or even die from preventable diseases.

Much of this could be avoided if more adults received their recommended vaccines. While most adults recognize the need for childhood vaccinations, many adults simply don’t realize that vaccines are recommended to protect against diseases like whooping cough, hepatitis A and B, pneumococcal disease, shingles and influenza.

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that vaccination rates for adults are extremely low (National Health Interview Survey, 2014).


Higher vaccination rates could help avoid the many cases of vaccine preventable diseases that adults suffer with each year.  For example, in 2015 there were about 27,000 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease and 3,300 deaths among adults. In 2016, there were more than 15,000 cases of whooping cough reported to the CDC.  Additionally, there are about 1 million cases of shingles and millions of cases of influenza that occur each year in the U.S.

2) Certain health conditions can put adults at greater risk of complications if they do get sick. 

As we go through life we’re often diagnosed with certain health conditions that put us at increased risk for complications from diseases such as pneumonia and influenza.  This includes conditions such as heart disease, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes. Even if we feel we have those conditions under control, it is best to get vaccinated to prevent an illness that can complicate these conditions and cause severe illness, hospitalization or even death.

3)  Adults are more likely to contract certain diseases.

As we age, we also become more likely to suffer with diseases such as shingles or pneumococcal disease.  That is why adults 65 and older are recommended to receive one or more pneumococcal vaccines, and those 60 years and older should get a shingles vaccine.


Read more…

October Updates from Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices

October 26, 2016 3 comments

10693.jpgLast week, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) held it’s third and final meeting of 2016.  The agenda included presentations pertaining to hepatitis B, pertussis, HPV, meningococcal, herpes zoster, pneumococcal and RSV vaccines, and surveillance updates on Zika and influenza viruses.

During the two-day meeting, the committee took nine votes on newly proposed vaccine recommendations that addressed vaccination timing, number of doses needed, and dosing intervals for hepatitis B, pertussis, HPV and meningococcal vaccines.  They also approved the child, adolescent and adult immunization schedules.

This post provides a recap of each agenda item in the order they occurred. 

Hepatitis B Vaccine

The recommended first dose of the three-series hepatitis B vaccine is often referred to as “birth dose” and is typically administered to infants in the hospital after birth.  At this meeting, the Hepatitis B Work Group asked that the Committee consider removal of the permissive language that appears at the end of the recommendation which allows for a delay of the birth dose until after hospital discharge.

When hepatitis B vaccine is administered within 24 hours of birth it can help prevent transmission of the hepatitis B virus from an infected mother to her child.  The intent of the birth dose is to provide an additional safety net to prevent transmission from HepB positive mothers that are not properly identified due to errors in maternal testing or reporting. In these instances, when the mother is not properly identified as HepB positive before birth, the HepB vaccine alone is 75% effective in preventing prenatal transmission, and 94% effective when used in conjunction with Hepatitis B immune globulin.

Since delaying hepatitis B vaccination can interfere with the prevention of Hepatitis B – especially in a child unknowingly born to a HepB positive mother – the HepB Work Group proposed that the reference to delaying vaccination be removed from the recommendation.  It had originally been added in 2005, but the data suggests that administering the birth dose in the hospital leads to timely completion of the series. The current birth dose coverage was stated to be 72.4% of children, which remains below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 84%.

The Committee voted to remove the permissive language as well as include new language to clarify that the first dose of vaccine should be administered within 24 hours of birth, which is more explicit than “before hospital discharge”.

The anticipated changes to the previous recommendation are indicated below, however the exact wording may differ once published by the CDC:

“For all medically stable infants weighing 2,000 grams or more at birth and born to HBsAg-negative mothers, the first dose of vaccine should be administered before hospital discharge within 24 hours of birth.  Only single antigen HepB vaccine should be used for the birth dose. On a case-by-case basis and only in rare circumstances, the first dose may be delayed until after hospital discharge for an infant who weighs 2,000 grams or more and whose mother is HBsAG-negative.

*It should be noted that for those infants with birth weight of less than 2,000 grams, the birth dose is not counted as part of the vaccine series.

There was some discussion concerning the removal of the option to delay vaccination and it was emphasized that having a clear recommendation from the ACIP is not a vaccine mandate.  Rather, practitioners, public health professionals and parents rely on the ACIP recommendations as expert guidance and best practice. The Hepatitis B “birth dose” has been a successful strategy to help eliminate hepatitis B virus transmission in the U.S., and the ACIP’s revised recommendations only emphasize the importance of vaccinating within the 24 hours timeframe that will help prevent further transmission.


Other key updates to the hepatitis B vaccine recommendations included:

  • Providing examples of chronic liver disease, including recommending HepB vaccine for persons with HCV infection.
  • Post vaccination serologic testing for infants who’s mother’s HBsAg status remains  unknown indefinitely.
  • Testing HBsAg-positive pregnant women for HBV DNA.

For more information as to why babies need a Hepatitis B vaccine at birth, read these Shot of Prevention blog posts here

Pertussis Vaccine

The Committee reviewed the history of Tdap vaccination in pregnant women and reviewed studies that found that maternal Tdap vaccination to both safe and effective at preventing infant pertussis. Read more…

In Recognition of World Pneumonia Day

November 12, 2010 7 comments

It’s worth the poke to protect the world’s children.

By Shannon Duffy Peterson

A life changing event – one involving your children – will make any parent regret what they could have done. 

I have firsthand experience of this as I held my daughter Abigale in my arms while she died in 2001 of our world’s biggest vaccine-preventable killer of children, pneumococcal disease.  Abigale was just shy of her 6th birthday.

My name is Shannon Duffy Peterson and I am a disease prevention advocate for Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases (PKIDs) and a parent of four children.  My youngest are at home in Sleepy Eye, MN, and my oldest, Abigale, is up in heaven with her grandparents.

In 2001, my five-year-old daughter became a statistic when she died of a vaccine preventable disease.  Abigale became infected with chickenpox and, while battling that disease, she became infected with the pneumococcal bacteria.

When our children were born, my husband, DuWayne, and I were adamant about vaccinating our children.  We wanted our children to be protected against everything.  We wanted healthy children.  At that time, we had a pediatrician who did not push vaccinations and did not recommend the most recent vaccines available.  Consequently, my children did not have their chickenpox and pneumococcal vaccinations.

February 18, 2001, began as a normal Sunday.

We took the children to Sunday school, went to church together, played throughout the day, dancing with them to music and then relaxing with them before bedtime by playing a board game.  Abigale said she suddenly wasn’t feeling well and had a headache.  We had her lie down, took her temperature, it was 101.5, and gave her some Motrin.

She started to vomit up the medicine.  We thought she had the flu.  We thought this was strange because she’d had the same illness and a sinus infection two weeks earlier, but she was in kindergarten and we knew of the many germs the kids pass around.  We became alarmed when a rash developed all over her body that we had never seen before, but suspected it to be a high fever rash.  I called the emergency room and was told it was a flu going around with high fevers, vomiting, and diarrhea and to just treat the fever alternately with Motrin and Tylenol and a tepid bath.

Abigale was tired and we put her to bed planning to check on her quite frequently but hoping she would sleep off the flu.  Throughout the night we kept changing her bedding, bathing her to break the fever, even though she seemed pretty lethargic, and ended up sleeping with her to comfort her.

We awoke later to her crying for “Mommy,” as she had fallen out of bed while attempting to make it to the potty.  It was then, while cleaning her up, that my husband noticed the tremendous blotches on her skin and said “This is not normal and we have to get her to the emergency room right away”.  We woke up our little boy, got them both in the truck, and drove as fast as we could the 21 miles to New Ulm.  We called the hospital on the way to say we were coming and prayed for the best.

I sat in the back with the children, comforting Abigale.  When she said to me, “Mommy I hurt so bad all over”, I assured her it was from the sickness and held her in my arms the best that I could while we were all buckled up.  Those were the last words I would ever hear from my beautiful little girl.  She died in my arms while we were driving.  When we arrived at the hospital they called a code blue and attempted for one hour to revive her.  Her heart never started and they were breathing for her.

She was pronounced dead at 7:20am Monday, February 19th.

Our hearts broke that day as our son, Abigale’s little brother, witnessed all this and we had to tell him that his playmate, his bedtime companion, had died and there was nothing Mommy and Daddy or the doctors could do to save her.

Two hours after we arrived home from saying goodbye to our first born, our son started to experience some of the same symptoms as his sister and I rushed him to the clinic.  They got us in immediately and started running tests.  While we were waiting for results, Samuel, our son, started to vomit.  I couldn’t believe this was happening all over again and was holding him on the floor of the doctor’s office when our pediatrician came in with Abby’s preliminary autopsy results, stating that she’d had overwhelming sepsis caused by streptococcus pneumonia, congenital asplenia (absence of a spleen) and hemorrhagic adrenal glands.

While my daughter’s death happened quite quickly and I wasn’t able to save her by rushing to the hospital, I was able to save my son of the same ramifications by hospitalizing him directly after her death.

My world changed in those life altering 3 days.

I now understand the importance of vaccines and how children’s lives depend on them.  I am asking all parents to make sure all kids are kept healthy and to vaccinate children.  If we do this, we will save lives.  It is our responsibility, parents and medical professionals, to protect our children.

The vaccine to prevent pneumococcal disease is now widely available in the US, but imagine if you are a parent in an under developed country, where vaccines are hard to come by, and calling a doctor or nurse for advice while your child’s disease rages is something you cannot do.  What happened to me in 2001 is still happening to thousands of parents every day in the poorest parts of the world where the pneumococcal vaccine is still not available.  Making this vaccine available has got to be one of the top priorities in global child health.   No child and no parent should have to endure the devastating effects of a disease that can be prevented with a vaccine that costs just $10.

Please support World Pneumonia Day on November 12.  Go to to find out what you can do to make a difference.  Help us vaccinate the world’s children and save their lives, too.

We would like to thank Shannon Duffy Peterson for sharing her personal story here on Shot of Prevention in an effort to fight pneumonia and save a child on World Pneumonia Day.

A video of Shannon telling her own story is available at