Is PCV13 as Safe as PPSV23 for Older Adults?

May 15, 2018

The 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) is not associated with an increased rate of adverse events compared with the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) —a long-standing vaccine with a satisfactory safety profile—according to a recent study.

For their study, the researchers analyzed data from 313,136 doses of PCV13 and 232,591 doses of PPSV23 that were administered to patients aged 65 years and older between January 1 and August 15, 2015. Data were obtained from 6 Vaccine Safety Datalink sites.

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Specifically, the researchers assessed participants for adverse events including cardiovascular events, Bell’s palsy, Guillain-Barré syndrome, syncope, erythema multiforme, thrombocytopenia, cellulitis and infection, allergic reaction, and anaphylaxis.

Relative risks (RRs) for each adverse event were estimated via inverse probability of treatment weighting and adjusted Poisson regression models.

Findings from the study revealed that the PCV13 was not associated with a higher rate of adverse events than the PPSV23. Adjusted RRs for the incidence of adverse events following PCV13 vs PPSV23 administration were all less than 1, except for anaphylaxis, which was found to be insignificant (RR 1.32).

The researchers noted that only 1 patient who received PCV13 and 4 other vaccines concomitantly had confirmed anaphylaxis following vaccination.

“These data do not support an increased rate of adverse events following PCV13 administration in elders compared to PPSV23, and should provide reassurance regarding continued use of PCV13,” the researchers concluded.

—Christina Vogt


Tseng HF, Sy LS, Qian L, et al. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine safety in elderly adults [Published online May 2, 2018]. Open Forum Infect Dis.


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