NOTE: All in-article links open in a new tab.

Happy National Immunization Awareness Month

Published on 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

 | Billing 
 | Coding 

Did You Know?

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). According to the CDC (link), NIAM “is an annual observance held in August to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages.”

Why It Matters?

Immunity from childhood vaccines can wear off over time. Maintaining current with your immunizations throughout life helps you combat vaccine preventable diseases. The CDC advises (link) that all adults need:

  • COVID-19 vaccine,
  • Influenza (flu) vaccine every year, and
  • Tetanus and diphtheria (Td) or Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine every ten years.

On a personal note, I received a Tetanus shot on my twenty-first birthday, making it easier to remember to get an updated Tdap shot on my thirty-first, forty-first, and most recently fifty-first birthday.

Forgive me for getting on my soap box for a minute, a vaccination to prevent shingles is also a must for adults. Having watched my mother suffer through the agonizing pain of shingles, I ask the question, why would you suffer through this disease when two doses of Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN)? In fact, the CDC cites that “in adults 50 to 69 years old with healthy immune systems, Shingrix was 97% effective in preventing shingles; in adults 70 years and older, Shingrix was 91% effective (link). This series of two vaccines was my gift to myself when I turned fifty.

One more request is that you consider receiving a pneumonia vaccine. Based on the following CDC stats about Pneumonia in the United States, as a nation, we could do better.

  • In 2020, the percent of adults aged eighteen and over who had ever received a pneumococcal vaccination was 25.5%.
  • Data from 2018 revealed that 1.5 million emergency department visits had a primary diagnosis of pneumonia.
  • Mortality data from 2020 revealed there were 47,601 deaths from pneumonia and deaths per 100,000 population was 14.4.

There are four pneumococcal vaccines licensed for use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration:

PCV13: Prevnar 13® (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or PCV13) is a registered trademark by Wyeth LLC and marketed by Pfizer Inc. This vaccine provides protection against infections caused by six more serotypes than PCV7. This vaccine is part of the routine childhood immunization schedule. Additionally, in 2011, it was licensed by the FDA for use in adults 50 years or older. The CDC recommends PCV13 for

  • All children younger than 2 years old, and
  • People 2 years or older with certain medical conditions.

The CDC advises adults 65 years and older to discuss the need for this vaccine with their health care provider.

PCV 15: Vaxneuvance™ (Pneumococcal 15-valent Conjugate Vaccine)

On July 16, 2021, Merck announced (link) the FDA approval of Vaxneuvance™, a new vaccine for the prevention of invasive pneumococcal disease in adults 18 years and older caused by 15 serotypes.

PCV20: Prevnar 20™ (Pneumococcal 20-valent Conjugate Vaccine)

On June 8, 2021, Pfizer announced (link) the FDA approval of the Prevnar 20™ vaccine for adults 18 years or older and noted that it is “the first approval of a conjugate vaccine that helps protect against 20 serotypes responsible for the majority of invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumonia, including seven responsible for 40% of pneumococcal disease cases and deaths in the U.S.”

PPSV23: Pneumovax23® (pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine or PPSV23) is a Merck product. This vaccine was approved by the FDA in 1983 and helps protect against twenty-three types of pneumococcal bacteria. The CDC recommends this vaccine for

  • All adults 65 years or older,
  • People 2 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions (i.e., diabetes, heart disease or COPD), and
  • Adults 19 through 64 years old who smoke cigarettes.

What Can You Do?

As a healthcare provider, work with your patients to identify what vaccinations they have and have not received and utilize available resources on the CDC website for healthcare providers related to vaccinations, for example:

As a healthcare consumer:

  • Keep your vaccination records up to date (link),
  • Use the CDC’s Adult Vaccine Assessment Tool (link) to determine which vaccines are recommended for you, and
  • Share all this information with your healthcare provider so you make an informed decision on what immunizations you may need.
Article Author:

This material was compiled to share information.  MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice. Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.