Skip to main content

Pneumococcal Disease and Older Adults

Pneumococcal disease is a serious infection that causes pneumonia, meningitis, and blood infection, as well as other less severe illnesses.

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.

Who Should Be Vaccinated and Which Vaccines Do They Need?

Pneumococcal vaccination is recommended for all adults age 65 years and older.

All adults age 65 years and older who did not previously receive a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) should receive one dose of PCV (either PCV20 or PCV15). When PCV15 is used, it should be followed by a dose of PPSV23.

CDC offers additional guidance.

Pneumococcal Disease and Influenza

Having influenza (flu) increases the risk of getting pneumococcal disease so protection against pneumococcal disease is especially important during flu season. If both vaccines are due, they can be administered during the same healthcare visit.


Updated January 2022

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Additional Resources