Last fall, I asked my physician for a pneumococcal vaccination. For reasons that were not clear to me, he indicated that this vaccine was inappropriate for persons with cystic fibrosis. Can you explain why? Who is the vaccine for?
This vaccine is effective in significantly reducing the incidence of pneumonia and other infections caused by pneumococcus, the bacterium responsible for the vast majority of pneumonia cases in the general population. The vaccine is primarily intended for people with chronic diseases and weak immune systems. However, in adults with cystic fibrosis, the bronchi are chronically infected, in 70% of cases, with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Pneumococcus is rarely the cause of pneumonia in people with cystic fibrosis.
I only recommend the pneumonia vaccine to adults with cystic fibrosis who have minor lung involvement and are not infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The vaccine rarely causes undesirable side effects and is estimated to be effective for seven years, unlike the flu vaccine, which has to be administered annually.