Pneumonia vaccine study may save lives
We’ve all heard tragic stories about the loss of loved ones to pneumonia or complications of pneumonia. It’s especially deadly for older adults.
“We are not yet winning the battle against pneumonia,” according to the American Thoracic Society, which notes that pneumonia was one of the most expensive conditions in inpatient hospitalizations, costing nearly $9.5 billion in 2013.
There is a vaccine to help prevent pneumonia, but only about 70 percent of people over age 65 have received it so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A new study hopes to change that. Meridian Clinical Research in Rockville, Md., is evaluating the safety and effectiveness of a pneumococcal vaccine in older adults. Sponsored by Pfizer, the double-blind study is currently recruiting about 200 D.C.-area adults over 60 years of age.
The pneumonia vaccine, delivered in several shots, has already been approved by the FDA, but Meridian is conducting this arm of the study to determine the optimum sequence of the shots.
“This study is to help determine the best effective method of protection against the streptococcus pneumonia, in patients age 60 and older,” said Kelly McDonald, director of East Coast recruitment for Meridian Clinical Research, which is based in Omaha, Neb.
Patients can qualify for the D.C.-area arm of the study only if they’ve never received the pneumonia vaccine. The study requires three visits to an office in Rockville, and a follow-up phone call. Participants will receive $75 per visit and reimbursement for their travel expenses.
There’s also a public-health benefit to the study. “We hope to be able to get everybody vaccinated for pneumonia,” McDonald said. “We must stay one step ahead and find the best methods to counteract these diseases.”
To volunteer for the Pneumococcal Vaccine Study, call (912) 623-2240.