Study: Many people with work-related asthma not getting pneumococcal vaccine

Adults with asthma are at a greater risk for pneumococcal disease, but according to a CDC study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, only 54 percent of adults with work-related asthma have received a pneumococcal vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends all adults 19 through 64 years old with asthma get the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.

CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researchers found that adults with work-related asthma were more likely to have reported receiving pneumococcal vaccine than adults with non-work-related asthma – 54 percent compared with 35 percent, respectively.

“People with work-related asthma are particularly vulnerable to pneumococcal pneumonia,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “Vaccination is the best way to prevent pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia, and CDC recommends that all adults with asthma, whether work-related or not, get the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.”

The study analyzed data from the 2012-2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Nearly 10,000 adults ages 18-64 years with asthma from 29 states who have ever held a job, representing an estimated 12 million people were included in the analysis. Of the adults with asthma in the study, researchers estimated 15 percent had work-related asthma.

“Our study found that the vaccination coverage for pneumococcal disease among adults who have ever worked and have asthma falls short of achieving the coverage public health experts recommend,” said Katelynn Dodd, M.P.H., lead author and an epidemiologist in the Respiratory Health Division of NIOSH.

“To increase the number of adults with asthma who are vaccinated against pneumococcal disease, we recommend that healthcare providers verify if their patients who have asthma have received a pneumococcal vaccine and offer the vaccine to those not vaccinated.”