Pneumonia vaccine gaps found in adults with work-related asthma

Fireman amidst smoke
Fireman amidst smoke

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A study of adults who have work-related asthma—triggered by exposure to allergens, dust, fumes, environmental conditions, or exercise—found that only 54% had received the recommended pneumococcal vaccine, researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today.

Adults who have any type of asthma are at increased risk of pneumonia complications, which can include asthma exacerbation and invasive pneumococcal disease. The CDC recommends that all adults ages 19 to 64 with asthma receive the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.

A team from the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported its findings today in an early online edition of the Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Some subgroups fared worse

For their analysis, the investigators looked at data from the 2012-13 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a state-based telephone survey. It included nearly 10,000 adults ages 18 to 64 with asthma from 29 states who had ever held a job. About 15% had work-related asthma.

Though researchers found a notable pneumococcal vaccine coverage gap for people with work-related asthma, the level was still higher than adults with non–work-related asthma: 54% versus 35%, respectively.

In people with work-related asthma, coverage was lowest in Hispanics (36%), those without health insurance (39%), and adults ages 18 to 44 (42%).

Coverage misses targets

Katelynn Dodd, MPH, lead author and an epidemiologist with the respiratory health division at NIOSH, said in a CDC press release that the pneumococcal vaccine coverage for adults who have ever worked and have asthma falls short of what public health experts recommend. The Healthy People 2020 goal is to increase the percentage of high-risk adult patients—including those with asthma—from 16.6% in 2008 to 60% in 2020.

"To increase the number of adults with asthma who are vaccinated against pneumococcal disease, we recommend that healthcare providers verify if their patients who have asthma have received a pneumococcal vaccine and offer the vaccine to those not vaccinated," she said.

Pneumococcal infection is caused by Streptococcus pneumonia, which can cause not only pneumonia, but also meningitis, bacteremia, bronchitis, sinusitis, and ear infection.

See also:

Sep 27 Am J Prev Med abstract

Sep 27 CDC press release

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