What Is A Pneumococcal Vaccine
A pneumococcal vaccine is an injection that can prevent pneumococcal disease. A pneumococcal disease is any illness that is caused by pneumococcal bacteria, including pneumonia. In fact, the most common cause of pneumonia is pneumococcal bacteria. This type of bacteria can also cause ear infections, sinus infections, and meningitis.
Adults age 65 or older are amongst the highest risk groups for getting pneumococcal disease.
To prevent pneumococcal disease, there are two types of pneumococcal vaccines: the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine and the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine .
This Infectious Disease Can Pose A Serious Health Risk For Those Age 65 And Older But Two Vaccines Can Offer Sound Protection
One of the leading health dangers for older adults is pneumonia. It is the most common cause of hospital admissions after childbirth. In fact, adults age 65 and older have a higher risk of death from pneumonia hospitalization than any other reason.
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs by bacteria, viruses, or other microbes. Most cases are caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumonia, Chlamydia pneumoniae, Chlamydia psittaci, and Legionella pneumophila. A similar inflammation of the lung, called pneumonitis, can be caused by an inhaled chemical and is more common in people who have had strokes and have difficulty swallowing. A physical exam, chest x-ray, and blood test can confirm a diagnosis.
About Author: Ken Harris
Ken Harris is the proudest father and a writing coordinator for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare.He has a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked as a daily newspaper reporter for four years before leaving the field and eventually finding his way to OSF HealthCare.In his free time, Ken likes reading, fly fishing, hanging out with his dog and generally pestering his lovely, patient wife.
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Who Should Not Get Vaccinated Or Should Wait
- Anyone who has had a lifeâthreatening allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine Prevnar 7 or any vaccine containing diphtheria toxoid: CDC.gov/Vaccines/VPD/Pneumo/Public/Index.html
- Anyone who is moderately or severely ill when the shot is scheduled should wait until feeling better
- For information regarding additional warnings and precautions, please visit: CDC.gov/Vaccines/VPD/Pneumo/HCP/Recommendations.html#Contraindications-Precautions
Immunisation Against Pneumococcal Disease For Adults
Adult immunisation against pneumococcal disease is available free of charge under the National Immunisation Program Schedule for:
- any person with certain serious medical risk conditions
- all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years or older
- people aged from 70 years.
Some medical risk conditions for which it is recommended to receive pneumococcal immunisation do not qualify for free immunisation under the National Immunisation Program. Speak to your doctor or immunisation provider for further information about the vaccine and its cost.
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Can The Shots Cause Pneumonia Or Make You Sick
No. The pneumonia vaccines dont contain live bacteria, so they cant cause an infection. They wont cause pneumonia or other pneumococcal diseases. If you dont feel well after your vaccine, you should discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider to find out whether they are related to the vaccine or caused by another illness.
What You Should Know About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs that typically stems from several kinds of germs, most often bacteria and viruses.
Symptoms can develop gradually or suddenly. They include:
- Chest pain.
- Loss of appetite.
Early detection is often challenging because many people with these symptoms assume they have a cold or the flu.
Its important to also note that the vaccine helps protect against some but not all bacterial pneumonia.
There are dozens of different types of bacterial pneumonia, says Dr. Suri. The vaccine will certainly reduce your risk of the most common bacterial pneumonia.
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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Pcv And Ppsv Vaccines
Kids may have redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given. A child also might have a fever after getting the shot. There is a very small chance of an allergic reaction with any vaccine.
The pneumococcal vaccines contain only a small piece of the germ and so cannot cause pneumococcal disease.
How Long Does A Pneumonia Shot Last
- Younger than 2 years old: four shots
- 65 years old or older: two shots, which will last you the rest of your life
- Between 2 and 64 years old: between one and three shots if you have certain immune system disorders or if youre a smoker
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Booster Doses Of Pneumococcal Vaccine
If you’re at increased risk of a pneumococcal infection, you’ll be given a single dose of the PPV vaccine.
But if your spleen does not work properly or you have a chronic kidney condition, you may need booster doses of PPV every 5 years.
This is because your levels of antibodies against the infection decrease over time.
Your GP surgery will advise you on whether you’ll need a booster dose.
Side Effects Of The Pneumococcal Vaccine
Like most vaccines, the childhood and adult versions of the pneumococcal vaccine can sometimes cause mild side effects.
- redness where the injection was given
- hardness or swelling where the injection was given
There are no serious side effects listed for either the childhood or adult versions of the vaccine, apart from an extremely rare risk of a severe allergic reaction .
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Who Should Get The Pneumonia Vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the pneumococcal vaccine for those who fall into the following groups:
- All babies and children younger than 2 years old.
- All adults 65 years or older.
- Adults 19 through 64 years old who smoke cigarettes.
- Children older than 2 and adults younger than 65 who have certain chronic diseases .
- Those who are at increased risk for certain diseases and those who have impaired immune systems.
The recommendations are sometimes confusing, so its a good idea to talk to your doctor about your questions and concerns, Dr. Suri says.
And dont wait to have that conversation. This is an infection you see year-round, she adds.
How Long Does The Pneumonia Vaccine Last
For most adults, one dose of the pneumonia vaccine should last a lifetime. In other words, you wont usually need to get another dose. This makes it different to the flu vaccine, which is given every year.
For some people, boosters of the pneumonia vaccine will be needed. This will be the case for people who have underlying health conditions that make them high-risk for pneumonia and related conditions. Your doctor will let you know if you need another vaccine.
If youre somebody who needs top-ups of the pneumonia vaccine, youll be able to receive them for free on the NHS.
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What Does The Pneumonia Vaccine Do
Pneumonia is a serious condition that attacks the lungs, causing coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing. It often requires hospitalisation, and can be life-threatening especially for the elderly or for people with weakened immune systems.
Pneumonia can be caused by viruses and fungi, but its usually caused by a bacterial infection. This is why both types of the pneumonia vaccine work by generating antibodies to kill pneumococcal bacteria. Once youve had the vaccine, your body will be able to use these antibodies to quickly fight off the bacteria strains that cause pneumonia.
People With Health Problems And The Pneumococcal Vaccine
The PPV vaccine is available on the NHS for children and adults aged from 2 to 64 years old who are at a higher risk of developing a pneumococcal infection than the general population.
This is generally the same people who are eligible for annual flu vaccination.
You’re considered to be at a higher risk of a pneumococcal infection if you have:
- a suppressed immune system caused by a health condition, such as HIV
- a suppressed immune system caused by medicines, such as chemotherapy or steroid tablets
- a cochlear implant Action on Hearing Loss has more information about cochlear implants
- had a leak of cerebrospinal fluid this could be the result of an accident or surgery
Adults and children who are severely immunocompromised usually have a single dose of PCV followed by PPV.
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When Is A Pneumonia Vaccine Recommended
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the pneumonia vaccine for all children who are younger than two years of age. It is also recommended for adults who are 56 years of age or older.
There are two types of pneumonia vaccines: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine . Each vaccine protects against different types of bacteria.
Who Should Get The Vaccine
People over age 65. As you age, your immune system doesnât work as well as it once did. Youâre more likely to have trouble fighting off a pneumonia infection. All adults over age 65 should get the vaccine.
Those with weakened immune systems. Many diseases can cause your immune system to weaken, so itâs less able to fight off bugs like pneumonia.
People who smoke. If youâve smoked for a long time, you could have damage to the small hairs that line the insides of your lungs and help filter out germs. When theyâre damaged, they arenât as good at stopping those bad germs.
People getting over surgery or a severe illness. If you were in the hospital ICU and needed help breathing with a ventilator, youâre at risk of getting pneumonia. The same is true if youâve just had major surgery or if youâre healing from a serious injury. When your immune system is weak because of illness or injury or because itâs helping you get better from surgery, you canât fight off germs as well as you normally can.
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Side Effects Of Pneumonia Vaccine
As with any medication, there is a risk of side effects from the pneumonia vaccine. However, they are usually harmless. The most common ones include:
- Low-grade fever
- Irritation at the site of injection
In babies, its possible to experience additional side effects. These include:
- Lack of appetite
- An inability to fall asleep
Seek medical attention immediately if you or your loved one experience signs of an allergic reaction. These include some or all of the following:
- Breathing difficulties
- Swelling of the mouth, lips, and/or tongue
- Skin rash
Which Pneumonia Vaccine Is Best
There is no best pneumonia vaccine. The two available pneumonia vaccines are different, and which one is best for you depends on how old you are and whether or not you have certain medical conditions.
The main difference between Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23 is the number of pneumococcus strains the vaccine protects against.
PPSV23 contains polysaccharides from 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria and is mainly given to older adults.
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Effectiveness Of The Pneumococcal Vaccine
Children respond very well to the pneumococcal vaccine.
The introduction of this vaccine into the NHS childhood vaccination schedule has resulted in a large reduction in pneumococcal disease.
The pneumococcal vaccine given to older children and adults is thought to be around 50 to 70% effective at preventing pneumococcal disease.
Both types of pneumococcal vaccine are inactivated or “killed” vaccines and do not contain any live organisms. They cannot cause the infections they protect against.
Who Needs One Or Two Pneumonia Vaccines
There are two pneumococcal vaccines, each working in a different way to maximize protection. PPSV23 protects against 23 strains of pneumococcal bacteria. Those 23 strains are about 90- to 95-plus percent of the strains that cause pneumonia in humans, Poland explains. PCV13, on the other hand, is a conjugate vaccine that protects against 13 strains of pneumococcal bacteria. PCV13 induces immunologic memory, he says. Your body will remember that it has encountered an antigen 20 years from now and develop antibodies to fight it off.
In order to get the best protection against all strains of bacteria that cause pneumonia, the CDC has long recommended that everyone 65 or older receive both vaccines: PCV13 , followed by the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine at a later visit. But the agency is now saying that PCV13 may not be necessary for healthy people 65 and older, suggesting that the decision be left up to patients and their physicians as to whether that extra skin prick is appropriate.
“Anyone who reaches the age of 65 and is in any way immunocompromised or has any of the listed indications for pneumococcal vaccine because they’re in a high-risk group for example, if they have diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, or are a smoker should continue to get both vaccines, says Schaffner.
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How Do You Get Immunised Against Pneumococcal Disease
You can only get pneumococcal vaccines on their own, not as a combination vaccine. Different vaccines protect against different types of pneumococcal disease. They are all given as a needle.
There are 2 types of pneumococcal vaccine:
- Pneumovax 23 – PDF 21 KB – covers 23 strains of pneumococcal disease.
The type of vaccine used and the dosage schedule will depend on age and any conditions that put people at higher risk of getting pneumococcal disease. Your doctor can tell you which vaccine they will use for your pneumococcal immunisation.
How Often Do You Need To Get The Pneumonia Vaccines
Sometimes, vaccines require a booster shot. This means that an additional shot is given after the initial one to make sure that you dont lose immunity over time.
PCV13 never requires a booster shot in children or adults after all recommended doses are received.
Sometimes, PPSV23 requires a booster shot, depending on when and why it was given:
Children who get PPSV23 due to certain health conditions, like cancer and conditions that weaken the immune system, need a booster 5 years after the first dose.
Adults who get PPSV23 before age 65 should get one booster at least 5 years after the first dose, once theyve turned 65. No booster is needed if the first dose is given after age 65.
Adults with a weakened immune system and other specific conditions should have another dose 5 years after their first dose, and then one more dose at least 5 years after their most recent dose, once theyve turned 65.
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How Often Should I Get Pneumonia Vaccine
If you are over 65 but are overall healthy, you should get a one-time vaccination with the pneumonia shot. You do not require a booster shot in this case, but some doctors recommend getting a second shot 5-10 years after the first one. In case you smoke, have chronic lung disease, or have impaired immunity, you should get your first pneumonia shot whenever you want. The same holds true for anyone who has a dysfunctional spleen.
The frequency of pneumonia vaccine depends on your age and overall health. However, it is usually enough to get the pneumonia shot once or twice during adulthood to protect yourself from pneumococcal disease. It is different from flu shots that you need to get every year. The reason is pneumonia virus does not change constantly as in the case of the influenza virus. Because the influenza virus mutates constantly, the vaccine that may have worked last year may no longer be effective in the next year.
Persons With Inadequate Immunization Records
Children and adults lacking adequate documentation of immunization should be considered unimmunized and should be started on an immunization schedule appropriate for their age and risk factors. Pneumococcal vaccines may be given, regardless of possible previous receipt of the vaccines, as adverse events associated with repeated immunization have not been demonstrated. Refer to Immunization of Persons with Inadequate Immunization Records in Part 3 for additional information about vaccination of people with inadequate immunization records.
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When To Get The Vaccine
Thereâs no such thing as pneumonia season, like flu season. If you and your doctor decide that you need to have a pneumonia vaccine, you can get it done at any time of the year. If itâs flu season, you can even get a pneumonia vaccine at the same time that you get a flu vaccine, as long as you receive each shot in a different arm.
What Are The Pneumonia Vaccines
There are two FDA-approved vaccines that protect against pneumonia:
13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, or PCV13
23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, or PPSV23
These immunizations are called pneumonia vaccines because they prevent pneumonia, which is an infection in the lungs. They are also known as pneumococcal vaccines because they protect against a bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus. Although there are many viruses, bacteria, and fungi that cause pneumonia, pneumococcus is the most common cause. Pneumococcus can also cause infections in other parts of the body.
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