Could you clarify recommendations for administration of pneumovax to asthmatics? Is it recommended for all ages, only those over 18, is there a consensus? Having a hard time getting clarification on CDC website. Thank you in advance.


Thank you for your inquiry.

The CDC considers asthmatics at increased risk of pneumococcal disease and therefore have suggested that all asthmatics ages 19 to 64 receive pneumococcal vaccine (Pneumovax 23). Below you will see quotes from three different sources that allow you to follow the rationale of the updated recommendations by the CDC.

The first is directly from the Pneumovax 23 package insert which states that anyone who is at “increased risk” receive the vaccine. The next is a quote taken directly from a news release (a link to that release is copied below) that describes the rationale of the CDC. This was based upon a study that showed that asthmatics are at increased risk. Finally, there is a quote taken directly from the CDC website which states that asthmatics ages 19 to 64 receive the vaccine. A link to the CDC website is also copied below.

Thank you again for your inquiry and we hope this response is helpful to you.


1.1 Indications and Use
PNEUMOVAX® 23 is a vaccine indicated for active immunization for the prevention of pneumococcal disease caused by the 23 serotypes contained in the vaccine (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6B, 7F, 8, 9N, 9V, 10A, 11A, 12F, 14, 15B, 17F, 18C, 19F, 19A, 20, 22F, 23F, and 33F). PNEUMOVAX 23 is approved for use in persons 50 years of age or older and persons aged ≥2 years who are at increased risk for pneumococcal disease.”

"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted unanimously yesterday to recommend that adults ages 19 to 64 with asthma receive pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23.................

The ACIP based this recommendation on study data that showed an increased risk of pneumococcal disease among people with asthma. Pneumococcal diseases are caused by common bacteria and can lead to potentially serious bacterial infections of the lungs (pneumonia), lining of the brain (meningitis) and blood (bacteremia)."

Pneumovax® is 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine (PPVSV23) that is currently recommended for use in all adults who are older than 65 years of age and for persons who are 2 years and older and at high risk for disease (e.g., sickle cell disease, HIV infection, or other immunocompromising conditions). It is also recommended for use in adults 19 through 64 years of age who smoke cigarettes or who have asthma.”

Phil Lieberman, M.D.

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