Society Releases Targeted Guidance for Pneumococcal Vaccinations in Post-Acute and Long-Term Care

February 2, 2017
Perry Gwen Meyers,

Despite broad-scale efforts to encourage vaccinations and preventive measures, streptococcus pneumoniae continues to pose a serious health threat in the U.S., particularly among adults 65 years and older, and others with specific risk factors. A new report, “Pneumococcal Vaccination Guidance for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Settings: Recommendations From AMDA’s Infection Advisory Committee,” details the importance of pneumococcal vaccination for older adults, offers guidance for the development and implementation of pneumococcal vaccine policies in post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) settings, and highlights AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine’s recommendations for vaccination practice and procedures.

Published in the February 2017 issue of JAMDA, the article notes that the Society supports the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations that all adults age 65 years and older, as well as those between the ages of 18 and 64 with specific risk factors, receive both the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine against 13 pneumococcal serotypes (PCV13), as well as the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine against 23 serotypes (PPSV23).

However, the Society has received many questions about the application of ACIP recommendations specific to PALTC settings. Toward that end, the Society’s Infection Advisory Committee (IAC) conducted an environmental scan and numerous interviews to assess providers’ current practices, policies, and education and support needs. This information was used to draft a policy statement and to develop the Pneumococcal Vaccination Guidance for PALTC providers.

The Society’s policy statement advocates that facilities establish and maintain a pneumococcal vaccination program that includes a requirement to assess PALTC residents for their vaccination status and to administer and document vaccinations in accordance with ACIP guidance. The statement also recommends that facilities “demonstrate an ongoing commitment to quality assessment and performance improvement by evaluating and addressing the pneumococcal vaccination programs if vaccine rates fall below US Department of Health and Human Services goals.”

David A. Nace, MD, MPH, CMD, the IAC Chair, stresses the importance of this guidance. “The vulnerability of PALTC patients, coupled with barriers common in PALTC settings such as obtaining accurate vaccine histories, poor access to vaccines, financial burdens, and a lack of education about the vaccines, leaves many PALTC practitioners with a void of information and guidance specific to their settings and patients. The IAC aims to fill that void with our guidance and tools, with an end goal of continuing to raise pneumococcal vaccination rates in PALTC.”

The tools the IAC developed include frequently asked questions about pneumococcal vaccinations, pneumococcal vaccination guidance (including an algorithm for choosing vaccines), and a template for a Resident Pneumococcal Vaccination Assessment Note. Click here for open access to all of these tools, as well as the Society’s full policy statement on pneumococcal vaccination.

For more information on the findings above, and more, click here. To contact the researchers or JAMDA Editor for an interview, contact