Vaccination to prevent bacterial pneumonia is suggested for all patients with either a medical condition or immunosuppressive treatment that increases their infection risk. Before starting on advanced therapies such as biologics, we suggest adults update their vaccines, which includes pneumonia protection. Prevnar 13 is a vaccine protecting against the main 13 types of bacterial pneumonia and one dose lasts for a person’s whole life.
Health Canada has just approved Prevnar 20, which is already available in the United States. This will provide lifelong protection against an additional 7 types of pneumonia and will likely replace Prevnar 13. It should be available for purchase by the end of July. It is our hope that it will be publicly funded for compromised adults over 50 as Prevnar 13 is currently.
If you have received Prevnar 13 in the past, you may consider upgrading to this enhanced protection when it is made available to you as long as it has been at least 6 months from the previous Prevnar 13 dose.
Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health. Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain, and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.