A vaccine against Streptococcus pneumoniae, one of the causes of pneumonia—23-valent polysaccharide pneumococcal vaccine (PPV)—has been available since 1983. Most guidelines recommend PPV for those at high risk of developing pneumonia, including older adults and nursing home residents. However, some doubts have been raised about the effectiveness of PPV, and vaccination rates remain below the target 80 percent to 90 percent in these populations.

Jennie Johnstone, M.D., and colleagues at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, collected data on 3,415 patients with community-acquired pneumonia admitted to six hospitals between 2000 and 2002. Of the patients, 22 percent had been vaccinated with PPV, and 624 died or were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).

Those who had been vaccinated with PPV were less likely to die or be admitted to the ICU than those who had not been vaccinated (ten percent versus 21 percent). This finding was mostly a result of lower ICU admissions—less than one percent of those vaccinated were admitted to the ICU, compared with 13 percent of those who were not vaccinated.

“In addition to improved clinical outcomes, our results suggest that there may also be an associated reduction in costs associated with pneumococcal vaccination, a health economic benefit that has not been captured in previous cost-effectiveness analyses of this vaccine,” the authors write.

“Specifically, much of the benefit in our study was in terms of reduction in the need for costly ICU admissions; previous cost analyses have been restricted to examining the benefits of preventing pneumococcal disease but may have not adequately captured the possibility of attenuating the severity or mitigating the cost of disease in those for whom pneumonia is not prevented.”

MEDICA.de; Source: American Medical Association