Skip to main content

Pneumococcal Disease and Healthcare Professionals

HCP Diverse Group

Despite long-standing vaccination recommendations to help protect at-risk adults, pneumococcal vaccination rates remain below US public health goals. Vaccine coverage rates for people age 65 years and older topped out at 74 percent in 2017 but have since decreased to 70 percent in 2020. Coverage rates for younger adults with underlying conditions are far lower, ranging from 23 percent to 36 percent between 2008 and 2020.

These low rates mean millions of US adults remain at unnecessary risk from this serious and deadly infection. Pneumococcal pneumonia hospitalizes about 150,000 people in the US each year, killing about 5 percent-7 percent, or between 7,500 and 10,500 of them. The death rate is even higher among adults age 65 years and older and people with underlying health conditions.

Fewer adults get pneumococcal meningitis or bloodstream infection, but the mortality rate for these infections is higher, even with proper treatment. Pneumococcal meningitis kills about 1 in 6 older patients and blood infection kills about 1 in 8 adults who have these diseases. More than 3,000 US adults die each year from these forms of pneumococcal disease. Pneumococcal meningitis and bacteremia can also result in lifelong disability including deafness, brain damage, and limb amputation.

To help raise awareness about the burden of pneumococcal disease and the importance of prevention through vaccination, NFID offers resources to educate healthcare professionals and their patients about the importance of pneumococcal disease prevention.


Updated March 2022

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Additional Resources