PCV13 and PPSV23 are two Pneumococcus vaccines. They are important for helping prevent pneumonia, as well as other diseases caused by Pneumococcus, like bacteremia, meningitis, etc.
To clarify: PCV13 is called Prevnar and is made by Pfizer. PPSV23 is called Pneumovax and is made by Merck.
It is worth noting that babies get the PCV13 vaccine. If they are mistakenly given Pneumovax, they should get Prevnar as soon as possible because Pneumovax is not effective in kids <24 months.
ALL adults >65 should get BOTH pneumonia vaccines–just not at the same visit. Evidence shows that it’s best to give the PCV13 first and then the PPSV23 6-12 months later for better immunity (2 months if they have HIV or asplenia). PPSV23 is only 60-80% effective…but that’s still better than nothing.
Adults ages 19-64 should get the PCV13 if they are at risk for pneumococcal infection:
- immunocompromised patients (HIV, malignancy, on steroids, etc)
- Cochlear implant
- CSF leak
Human beings ages 2-64 should get the PPSV23 if they are at risk for pneumococcal disease:
- patient groups listed above
- chronic cardiovascular disease like CHF, cardiomyopathy
- chronic respiratory disease like COPD, asthma
- chronic liver disease, like cirrhosis
- chronic renal failure
- smokers >19 years of age
- significant ETOH use
- organ transplant patients
Here’s where it gets tricky: if someone got their first PPSV23 before age 65, they should get a SECOND dose 5 years after the first one. They should get a THIRD dose once they turn 65. But once they are 65, they don’t need any additional doses even if they have a risk factor and didn’t get one when they were younger.