Open Access Open Badges Research article

Patterns of pneumococcal vaccination and revaccination in elderly and non-elderly adults: a Vaccine Safety Datalink study

Lisa A Jackson1*, Roger Baxter2, Allison L Naleway3, Edward A Belongia4 and James Baggs5

Author Affiliations

1 Group Health Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, USA

2 Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center, Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, Oakland, USA

3 Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Portland, USA

4 Epidemiology Research Center, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Marshfield, USA

5 Immunization Safety Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2009, 9:37  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-37

Published: 25 March 2009



Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) is recommended for all adults 65 years of age and older and for younger adults with high-risk conditions. While data from national surveys provide information on the proportion of adults 65 years of age and older reporting ever receipt of PPV they do not collect more detailed information, such as age at vaccination or the total number of vaccinations received. In addition, there is relatively little information available on PPV coverage in younger adults with chronic conditions. To assess contemporary patterns of pneumococcal vaccination and revaccination of adults, we conducted a cross-sectional study of adults enrolled in medical care organizations (MCOs) participating in the Vaccine Safety Datalink project.


The study population included 1.5 million adults 25 years of age and older enrolled in the four participating MCOs on December 1, 2006. PPVs administered to members of the study population prior to that date were identified from computerized immunization registries maintained by the MCOs.


Among the general population of adults 25 through 64 years of age, vaccine coverage increased from 2% in the 25–29 year old age-group to 26% in the 60–64 year old age-group. In all age-groups, coverage was substantially higher in persons defined as having a chronic high risk condition. This was particularly true for diabetes mellitus, with vaccine coverage of over 50% in the lower age-groups and 75% in those 60–64 years of age. Among adults 65 years of age and older, 82% had received at least one PPV and 18% had received two or more PPVs.


We found higher levels of PPV coverage among adults 65 years of age and older and among younger adults with diabetes mellitus than reported by national surveys and for those groups PPV coverage approached the Healthy People 2010 national objectives. These results suggest that achieving those objectives for PPV is possible and that high vaccination coverage may be facilitated by vaccine tracking and reminder systems.