A key public health advisory group has endorsed new, easier-to-understand pneumococcal vaccine recommendations.

The vote at the CDC ACIP meeting was unanimous for a revised risk-based recommendation for pneumococcal vaccines.

According to ACIP, one of the available pneumococcal vaccines should be received by all adults aged 65 years and older and adults aged 19 to 64 years with certain underlying medical conditions or other risk factors who have not previously received a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or in whom previous vaccine history is unknown. (If PCV15 Vaxneuvance, as opposed to PCV20 [Prevnar 20] is used, this should be followed by the polysaccharide vaccine, PPSV23 [Pneumovax 23], the committee said.)

The recommendations are being reviewed by the CDC director and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and, if approved, they will be published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Previously, according to a Pfizer press release, no pneumococcal conjugate vaccine has been routinely recommended for certain risk populations aged 19 to 64 years, such as people with diabetes and asthma.

“A single dose of PREVNAR 20 helps protect adults against vaccine-type pneumococcal pneumonia and invasive pneumococcal disease during a period where their risk is gradually increasing due to aging among other factors. Today’s vote acknowledges the important role of adult immunizations in helping protect eligible populations against certain potentially serious respiratory diseases during the current pandemic and beyond,” explained Luis Jodar, PhD, senior vice president at Pfizer and chief medical officer, Pfizer Vaccines. “The ACIP recommendation recognizes the significance as well of helping protect more populations under age 65 with co-morbid and immunocompromising conditions who are at increased risk of disease against these 20 disease-causing serotypes.”

The FDA approved Prevnar 20 (Pneumococcal 20-valent Conjugate Vaccine) in June for the prevention of invasive disease and pneumonia caused by the 20 Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) serotypes in the vaccine in adults aged 18 years and older.

The vaccine includes capsular polysaccharide conjugates for the 13 serotypes (1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 6B, 7F, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, 19F, and 23F) already included in Prevnar 13 (Pneumococcal 13-valent Conjugate Vaccine [Diphtheria CRM197 Protein]). It adds capsular polysaccharide conjugates for seven additional serotypes (8, 10A, 11A, 12F, 15B, 22F, and 33F), which cause invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and have been associated with high case-fatality rates, antibiotic resistance, and/or meningitis.

Pneumococcal pneumonia leads to more than 180,000 adult hospital admissions and more than 150,000 adult outpatient visits in the United States each year, the company notes.

“The new simplified ACIP recommendation may offer the opportunity to improve immunization rates and therefore help prevent more disease,” suggested Nanette Cocero, PhD, global president, Pfizer Vaccines. “We believe that as U.S. health care professionals start implementing this ACIP recommendation, once endorsed by the CDC Director, PREVNAR 20 recommended as a single dose has the potential to provide an important public health benefit for adults.

“Building on Pfizer’s more than 20-year legacy of developing and supplying pneumococcal conjugate vaccines, we remain committed to working with the healthcare and public health communities to raise awareness of the importance of adult immunization and encourage recommended individuals to get vaccinated.”

An ACIP amendment to reduce age-based recommendations down to age 50 years, however, did not pass in a 4 to 11 vote.

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