Know The Facts About The Pneumonia Vaccine
Just as with a flu shot, and now the COVID-19 vaccines, some people believe that getting a pneumococcal vaccine will cause them to come down with the disease or experience long-term side effects.
This is absolutely not true, Dr. Suri says.
Not only will the pneumococcal vaccine help reduce the risk of contracting certain types of bacterial pneumonia, it also guards against serious consequences resulting from the flu and severe infections, such as .
For young children, older adults, smokers and those with other risk factors, the vaccine is a healthy choice to make.
I cant see any reason to avoid this vaccine and every reason to get it, she says.
Will Being Vaccinated Against Flu Pneumonia And Shingles Help Prevent Covid
The short answer is no. But reducing your risk for getting sick with the flu, pneumonia, or shingles which is what these vaccines do makes a lot of sense during the pandemic, Privor-Dumm says.
Lowering your risk for vaccine-preventable diseases will help you avoid doctors offices and hospitals, which will reduce any potential exposure to the coronavirus, Privor-Dumm adds.
Plus, Privor-Dumm says, Preventing serious disease can help keep you out of the hospital at a time when health resources may be needed to treat COVID-19 patients.
Who Needs The Pneumococcal Vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the PPSV23 vaccine for all adults 65 years or older as well as adults 19 years or older with certain medical conditions that could put them at greater risk of infection. The PCV13 vaccine, on the other hand, should be a shared decision between the patient and clinician due to additional medical considerations.
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Can You Prevent Pneumococcal Disease
The best way you can avoid getting pneumococcal disease is to get a vaccine. People at risk should get the shot, such as:
- Children younger than 2 years old
- Adults 65 and older
- Adults with weak immune systems
- Adults who smoke
- Anyone with a chronic disease, such as asthma or other lung diseases
The pneumococcal vaccine is safe and effective.1 There are two types available. Adults with certain medical conditions may need both shots. This includes adults with asthma who take corticosteroids. Medicare and most insurance companies pay for the shot. Talk to your doctor about which one is right for you.
If you have had a pneumococcal infection in the past, it will not keep you from getting it again. You still need the shot.
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.
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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.
What Are Other Causes Of Pneumonia
Pneumococcal disease is not the only cause of pneumonia. Viruses, fungi, and other bacteria can cause pneumonia too. Some of the most common causes of pneumonia include:
- The flu
- Respiratory syncytial virus
- The common cold
Less often, illnesses like whooping cough, measles, and chickenpox can cause pneumonia. Vaccines are available for these illnesses. Getting these vaccines along with the flu, COVID-19, and pneumococcal vaccines can help you reduce the chances you get pneumonia. Pneumonia can be serious. About 3 million Americans go to the emergency department each year for pneumonia. Around 50,000 Americans die each year from pneumonia.
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When Should You Schedule Your Vaccines
Older adults should get their flu shots by the end of October or ideally even sooner, particularly in light of the expected increase in demand for the 202021 winter season caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, given the concerns surrounding the pandemic, older adults should make sure they are up to date on all their vaccinations and any booster shots by the end of October, before winter sets in, Privor-Dumm says.
Still, its important to stagger your vaccinations, as getting them all done at one time could lead to complications. Talk to your doctor about setting up a vaccination schedule that works for you.
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Common And Local Adverse Events
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
Studies of Pneu-C-13 vaccine indicated that irritability decreased appetite increased or decreased sleep and pain, swelling and redness at the injection site after the toddler dose and in older children, are common side effects. Low grade fever occurred in 20% to 30% or more of vaccine recipients. In adults over 50 years of age, the most commonly reported side effects included pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache and new onset of myalgia, with fever above 38Â°C occurring in approximately 3% of vaccine recipients.
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine
Reactions to Pneu-P-23 vaccine are usually mild. Soreness, redness and swelling at the injection site occur in 30% to 60% of vaccine recipients and more commonly follow SC administration than IM administration. Occasionally, low grade fever may occur. Re-immunization of healthy adults less than 2 years after the initial dose is associated with increased injection site and systemic reactions. Studies have suggested that re-vaccination after an interval of at least 4 years is not associated with an increased incidence of adverse side effects. However, severe injection site reactions, including reports of injection site cellulitis and peripheral edema in the injected extremity, have been documented rarely with Pneu-P-23 vaccine in post-marketing surveillance, even with the first dose. Multiple re-vaccinations are not recommended refer to Booster doses and re-immunization.
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Everything You Need To Know About The Pneumonia Vaccine
During the winter months, many people think that they have a nasty cold or flu, but it turns out to be pneumonia an illness that can be life threatening in certain people. A vaccine can help lower your chance of contracting pneumonia. While the pneumonia vaccine does not prevent all cases of pneumonia, it reduces the severity of the disease.
That is especially important for older adults and if you have certain medical conditions that put you at greater risk for complications.
Now is the time to talk to your doctor about your risks and if you need a vaccine to protect you against pneumonia.
Niharika Juwarkar, MD, Internal Medicine with Firelands Physician Group, answers your most frequently asked questions about pneumonia and the risks.
What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is a respiratory lung infection that is often mistaken for the flu. Your lungs become filled with fluid or pus that results in inflammation. Symptoms are very similar to the flu, but pneumonia can last for weeks and result in very serious complications.
While pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, most cases are due to a specific bacteria called streptococcus pneumoniae, more commonly known as pneumococcal pneumonia. This form can be treated with antibiotics. Your doctor can test to see what form of pneumonia you have. Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have and the severity of your symptoms. But, the best defense is vaccination.
Who is most at risk for pneumonia?
Should You Get A Flu Shot
In general, every person with diabetes needs a flu shot each year. Talk with your doctor about having a flu shot. Flu shots do not give 100% protection, but they do make it less likely for you to catch the flu for about six months.
For extra safety, it’s a good idea for the people you live with or spend a lot of time with to get a flu shot, too. You are less likely to get the flu if the people around you don’t have it.
The best time to get your flu shot is beginning in September. The shot takes about two weeks to take effect.
If youre sick , ask if you should wait until you are healthy again before having your flu shot. And don’t get a flu shot if you are allergic to eggs.
You are advised to continue to take the general precautions of preventing seasonal flu and other communicable illnesses and diseases:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash. If you dont have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
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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.
How Often Is The Pneumococcal Vaccine Given
Babies receive the pneumococcal vaccine as three separate injections, at 2 months, 4 months and 12-13 months.
People over-65 only need a single pneumococcal vaccination which will protect for life. It is not given annually like the flu jab.
People with a long term health condition may need just a single one-off pneumococcal vaccination or five-yearly vaccination depending on their underlying health problem.
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What Causes Pneumonia
There are many types of germs that can cause pneumonia. However, there are five main causes of pneumonia:
- Infectious agents, such as fungi
- Various chemicals
The most common causes are bacteria and viruses in the air we breathe. Pneumonia is classified according to the type of germ that caused the illness and where the infection was picked up.
Community-acquired pneumoniaCommunity-acquired pneumonia is the most common type of pneumonia. Its usually contracted near hospitals or other health care facilities from things like:
- Bacteria. The most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in the US is Streptococcus pneumoniae.
- Bacteria-like organisms. Mycoplasma pneumoniae can also cause pneumonia and typically produces milder symptoms, also known as walking pneumonia.
- Fungi. Most common in those with chronic health problems or weakened immune systems. Fungi can be found in soil or bird droppings and vary depending on location.
- Some viruses that cause colds and the flu can cause pneumonia. This is the most common cause of pneumonia for children younger than 5.
Hospital-acquired pneumoniaThere is a possibility of catching pneumonia during a hospital stay for a different illness. This can be serious, since the bacteria that causes it can be more resistant to antibiotics. People on breathing machines often used in intensive care units are at higher risk of getting this type.
When To See A Doctor
A person who is over 65 years of age should talk to their doctor about which pneumonia vaccine may be best for them. The doctor can help determine whether they should get the vaccination, which vaccination to get, and when to get it.
Parents and caregivers of young children should talk to a pediatrician about the schedule for the pneumonia vaccination. The pediatrician can also address any questions or concerns about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccination.
A person does not need to see a doctor for mild reactions to the vaccine, such as tenderness at the injection site, fever, or fatigue.
However, if a person experiences any life threatening side effects, they should seek emergency help immediately.
Signs and symptoms of allergic reactions in children may include:
- respiratory distress, such as wheezing
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Who Should Not Get The Vaccine
People should not get the vaccine if they have had a life threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose.
Additionally, a person should not undergo vaccination if they have had an allergic reaction to medication containing diphtheria toxoid or an earlier form of the pneumonia vaccination .
Lastly, people who are sick or have allergic reactions to any of the ingredients of the vaccine should talk to a doctor before getting the shot.
A pneumonia shot will not reduce pneumonia. However, it helps prevent invasive pneumococcal diseases, such as meningitis, endocarditis, empyema, and bacteremia, which is when bacteria enter the bloodstream.
Noninvasive pneumococcal disease includes sinusitis.
There are two types of pneumonia shots available. Which type a person gets depends on their age, whether or not they smoke, and the presence of any underlying medical conditions.
The two types are:
- Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine : Healthcare providers recommend this vaccine for young children, people with certain underlying conditions, and some people over the age of 65 years.
- Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine : Healthcare providers recommend this vaccine for anyone over 65 years of age, people with certain underlying conditions, and people who smoke.
According to the
- roughly 8 in 10 babies from invasive pneumococcal disease
- 45 in 100 adults 65 years or older against pneumococcal pneumonia
- 75 in 100 adults 65 years or older against invasive pneumococcal disease
Persons New To Canada
Health care providers who see persons newly arrived in Canada should review the immunization status and update immunization for these individuals, as necessary. Review of pneumococcal vaccination status is particularly important for persons from areas of the world where sickle cell disease is present, as persons with sickle cell disease are at risk of serious pneumococcal infections. In many countries outside of Canada, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is in limited use. Refer to Immunization of Persons New to Canada in Part 3 for additional information about vaccination of people who are new to Canada.
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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.
Can You Get The Pneumonia Vaccine & The Influenza Vaccine
With flu season here, well also note that you can get the influenza vaccine and either pneumococcal vaccine at the same time. At-risk adults and seniors should always get the influenza vaccine annually, as the flu can further increase risk of contracting pneumococcal disease. However, while you do need the influenza vaccine once a year, you dont need the pneumococcal vaccine annually. In fact, all adults 65 years or older should only receive one dose of PPSV23.
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How Dispatchhealth Is Improving Healthcare
While pneumococcal vaccines can protect at-risk individuals from getting pneumonia and developing extreme complications from other respiratory infections, contraction can still happen. For seniors, in particular, pneumonia can be life threateningespecially in those with chronic conditions . Pneumonia can also occur post infection, developing after the flu or COVID-19making it important for at-risk adults to watch for symptoms.
If you do have symptoms, reach out to DispatchHealth for on-demand services that come to you. We provide an urgent healthcare alternative for those with chronic conditions and acute medical concerns, treating a variety of health complications in the comfort of the home. Our medical teams will come prepared with nearly all the tools and technologies found in a traditional ER setting, but without the disruptive or impersonal medical experience. Whats more, our streamlined service is compatible with most insurancesincluding Medicaid and Medicareand we offer an affordable flat rate for uninsured patients.
This flu season, you can count on DispatchHealth. We can also test for COVID-19 as well as treat and support COVID-19 patients. To request care, simply contact us via phone, mobile app, or through our website.
How Should I Approach Getting Vaccinated
Prioritizing is the name of the game plan during 2021 and 2022. Everyone really should’ve had the COVID vaccine by nowif they haven’t or they’re still sort of sitting on the fence, then preferably, the sooner the better, Dr. Wolfe says. Then, flu and/or pneumonia as you come into the winter.” Shingles is not seasonally dependent, “but people should talk to their doctor about it.
Ideally, you can piggybank some of these vaccines together. For instance, COVID with flu, or flu with pneumonia, or shingles with flu. For many years, we’ve done flu and pneumonia together, Dr. Wolfe says. I think trying to give people three vaccines at once is probably asking for a bit much, but certainly two at once can be done with no concerns.
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The Flu Pneumonia And Inflammation Create A Deadly Threat
Pneumococcal pneumonia can follow other viral infections, particularly influenza, says William Schaffner, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. The biology behind it:The flu virus attaches to, and infects, the cells lining the mucous membranes in the back of the throat, nose and bronchial tubes. Normally, the cells eject infectious agents out of the body via the nose or mouth, or they’re simply swallowed. But when impaired by the flu, the cells lining these membranes allow the bacteria to slip down into the bronchial tubes and trigger a secondary infection, in the lungs. The infection inflames the air sacs in the lungs, causing them to fill with pus and fluid. That not only makes it hard to breathe but can allow bacteria to escape into the bloodstream, causing an infection called sepsis, an aggressive inflammatory response that can, ultimately, lead to organ failure.
Pneumococcal pneumonia, of course, is also likely be a complication of respiratory syncytial virus , a common and highly contagious winter lung infection, whichuncharacteristicallyspread this summer, and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the pneumococcal vaccine wont shield you from pneumonia that results from either of them. As Schaffner puts it, Pneumonia from Covid is a different sort of pneumonia.