Pneumococcal Pneumonia for Healthcare Providers

Your one-stop for resources to stay informed about pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination recommendations, methods to increase vaccine confidence and rates and patient education.

According to the CDC, pneumococcal pneumonia causes an estimated 150,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States.Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination recommendations have existed since the first pneumococcal vaccine was licensed for use in the United States in 1977.2 Pneumococcal vaccines are the best way to help prevent this disease with older adults being at the highest risk for serious illness and death. Vaccination for pneumococcal pneumonia is below the Vaccines National Strategic Plan 2025 target for 65 years or older of 90% and well below the 2025 target of 60% for those with underlying health conditions at increased risk of disease.3

Pneumococcal Vaccination Coverage among Adults Aged 65+ in 2021: 70.1% Pneumococcal Vaccination Coverage among Adults Aged 65+ in 2021: 70.1%
Pneumococcal Vaccination Coverage among Adults Aged 18-64 at Increased Risk in 2021: 29.7% Pneumococcal Vaccination Coverage among Adults Aged 18-64 at Increased Risk in 2021: 29.7%

*Key:  
Blue - vaccinated adults. 
Green - needed to reach Vaccines National Strategic Plan 2025 target.

The current rates of pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination leaves millions of American adults vulnerable to the disease.

Adults at Risk for Pneumococcal Pneumonia*:

  • Adults 65 years or older
  • Adults who have the following underlying medical conditions/risk factors:
    • Chronic lung disease including COPD, emphysema and asthma
    • Chronic heart, kidney or liver disease
    • Smoking cigarettes 
    • Diabetes
    • Weakened immune system

*See the adult immunization schedule for a complete list of risk factors.

American Lung Association Resources:

Healthcare Professionals Discuss Pneumococcal Vaccination Best Practices

In this blog post, the American Lung Association spoke with some top physicians who have seen firsthand the burden of pneumococcal disease and asked them to offer their best solutions.
Read More
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Meredith McCormack, M.D., MHS discusses common healthcare provider pneumococcal vaccination questions as it relates to eligible adult patients. Pneumococcal pneumonia is a year-round threat to patients, so each phase of an office visit is an opportunity to educate and provide a strong recommendation to vaccinate.

Watch Video

For Patient Education:

Here you will find educational resources to improve patient pneumococcal pneumonia education and vaccination uptake. Save or download the resources below for use in your practice and to improve patient pneumococcal pneumonia education and vaccination uptake.

Pneumococcal Pneumonia Patient Education

Patient-focused pneumococcal pneumonia information and resources. Includes a risk assessment and videos to learn about risk, symptoms and severity of pneumococcal pneumonia.
Learn More

Increasing Vaccine Confidence

Studies show that when a healthcare provider strongly recommends a vaccination to a patient, immunization rates increase. Never miss an opportunity to vaccinate. Each time a patient visits your practice (through a telemedicine visit or in-person), is an opportunity to assess, identify and educate the patient on routine, recommended vaccinations including pneumococcal pneumonia.

  • Share the reasons why pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination is recommended for the patient. 
  • Highlight positive experiences with pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination to reinforce vaccine benefits. 
  • Listen to patient questions and concerns about pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination with empathy. Be sure to address side effects, safety and effectiveness in understandable language.  
  • Remind patients that pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination protects them and their loved ones from serious illness and complications.  
  • Explain the potential costs of getting pneumococcal pneumonia, including serious health effects, time lost and financial costs.  
  • Discussing, educating, and training all staff within the practice about pneumococcal vaccination to initiate a team approach. 
  • Involving clinicians and staff in patient-engagement activities to create buy-in.
  • Implementation of the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) method can help evidence-based interventions create lasting change.
    • Set improvement goals and educate your care team on the importance of these goals.  
    • Implement evidence-based interventions such as standing orders, participation in your state’s immunization information system (IIS) and recall and reminder systems to improve vaccine uptake. 
    • Measure your progress and determine gaps in the process. 
    • Refine the plan and take action to improve upon it.

This educational content supported by a grant from Pfizer Inc.

Page last updated: June 13, 2024

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