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When to use the new pneumococcal vaccine

Abstract

Pneumococcal pneumonia probably affects about one in every thousand adults each year. Like other serious pneumococcal infection, it is more common and severe in the elderly, in those without a functional spleen (including patients with sickle-cell disease,1) and in patients with a variety of chronic diseases. In the United States a 23-valent pneumococcal vaccine was introduced in 1983, replacing a 14-valent vaccine; it is now recommended there for large groups of people.2 This newer 23-valent vaccine (Pneumovax-II - MSD) was licensed in Britain last May. Its use should be considered for those at special risk of pneumococcal disease.3–5

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