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Vaccination Models for COPD

All individuals with COPD are strongly recommended to receive certain adult vaccinations that provide protection against conditions that may affect the lungs. While there is not a vaccine for COPD specifically, vaccination against viral influenza and Streptococcus pneumonia provide secondary prevention by preventing or minimizing the severity of COPD exacerbations caused by respiratory infections. Flu and pneumonia can impair lung function, so individuals with COPD are at higher risk of complications from those infections. People with COPD are more likely to develop pneumonia and other respiratory diseases after a flu infection.

  • Influenza Vaccine. Individuals with COPD should receive the annual flu vaccination. Flu season typically lasts from October to May, peaking from December to February. However, the flu can be transmitted at any time during the year.
  • Pneumococcal Vaccine. The two pneumococcal vaccines, PCV13 and PPSV23, are recommended for all adults 65 years or older, particularly those with chronic lung conditions like COPD. They are also specifically recommended for younger individuals with COPD. These vaccines provide protection against various pneumococcal bacteria that can cause pneumonia, among other conditions.

Examples of Vaccination Models

  • The Community Guide recommends client reminder and recall systems and provider reminders as an effective intervention to increase vaccination rates in adults.
  • Experts have found the use of retail clinics as a promising practice for increasing vaccination rates. While retail clinics may improve access to care, additional evidence is needed.

Considerations for Implementation

Immunocompromised individuals may not be able to receive vaccinations because their immune systems might not be able to adequately respond to the weakened antigens in the vaccine. Patients with comorbidities (like HIV/AIDS) that affect their immune systems or older patients whose immune systems have weakened over time may not be appropriate candidates for vaccinations.

Resources to Learn More

Adults with Chronic Conditions: Get Vaccinated
Describes vaccine-preventable diseases which adults with different chronic conditions are at higher risk of acquiring and outlines adult vaccination recommendations.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COPD and Vaccines: What You Should Know
Downloadable handout for health professionals, patients, and the general public providing an overview of the importance of vaccines for patients with COPD and identifying which vaccines are recommended.
Organization(s): National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Date: 10/2018