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Smokers should get pneumonia vaccine: U.S. advisers

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Friday, Oct 24, 2008

Smokers should be vaccinated against a pneumonia-causing germ, along with children and the elderly, U.S. federal advisers recommended on Wednesday.

If accepted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it would be the first vaccine recommendation aimed specifically at smokers.

The vaccines, called pneumococcal vaccines, prevent infection with several strains of Streptococcus pneumonia, a bacteria that causes pneumonia, meningitis and other severe infections. They are routinely given to the elderly and to small children, but not to healthy young adults.

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The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, meeting in Atlanta, had been asked to discuss whether the shot might benefit smokers, who have a higher risk of lung and respiratory infection in general.

“The ACIP voted to recommend smokers aged 19 through 64 years of age should be vaccinated with pneumococcal vaccine. The committee also recommended smokers who receive pneumococcal vaccine also undergo stop smoking counseling,” CDC spokesman Curtis Allen said by e-mail.

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“This is the first time the ACIP has recommended a vaccine specifically for smokers.”

This article was posted: Friday, October 24, 2008 at 9:56 am

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