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Consult Pharm. 2013 Apr;28(4):220-7. doi: 10.4140/TCP.n.2013.220.

Preventing pneumococcal disease: intergenerational issues.

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University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, Storrs, Connecticut Arlington, Virginia, USA.


In the United States, approximately four million people contract pneumococcal infections each year, and elders and children are at an increased risk of contracting these infections. Since the late 1800s, researchers have searched for a vaccine that covers the many serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae. Today, three vaccines are available, and each possesses subtle differences. Notwithstanding the positive impact from each vaccine type, the incidence of diseases caused by serotypes that are not included in specific vaccines tends to increase in children and certain adult populations with underlying illnesses. While these increases are usually small compared with the overall reduction in disease, some clinicians and patients question the effectiveness of vaccinations. Pharmacists need to promote pneumococcal vaccination and emphasize the need to also receive annual influenza vaccine.

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