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.
How Pneumococcal Vaccination Protects Against Covid
Protection against serious COVID-19 disease by pneumococcal and Hib vaccines makes sense for several reasons. First, recent studies reveal that the majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and in some studies nearly all, are infected with streptococci, which causes pneumococcal pneumonias, Hib or other pneumonia-causing bacteria. Pneumococcal and Hib vaccinations should protect coronavirus patients from these infections and thus significantly cut the risk of serious pneumonia.
I also found that pneumococcal, Hib and possibly rubella vaccines may confer specific protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 by means of molecular mimicry.
Molecular mimicry occurs when the immune system thinks one microbe looks like another. In this case, proteins found in pneumococcal vaccines and, to a lesser degree, ones found in Hib and rubella vaccines as well look like several proteins produced by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Two of these proteins found in pneumococcal vaccines mimic the spike and membrane proteins that permit the virus to infect cells. This suggests pneumococcal vaccination may prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection. Two other mimics are the nucleoprotein and replicase that control virus replication. These proteins are made after viral infection, in which case pneumococcal vaccination may control, but not prevent, SARS-CoV-2 replication.
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
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Other Types Of Pneumococcal Disease
Pneumonia vaccines protect against pneumococcal infections in other parts of the body. These infections include:
What is it: An infection in the middle part of the ear.
Symptoms: Fever, ear pain, and decreased hearing
What is it: A sinus infection, which is often first caused by a virus. Later, a bacterial infection can set in, causing worsening or ongoing symptoms.
Symptoms: Pain and pressure around the eyes and nose, fever, drainage, and congestion
Who gets it: Sinus infections are more common in adults than in children. Pneumococcus is a common cause and may contribute to up to 35% of sinus infections.
What is it: An infection of the leptomeninges, or the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can be life-threatening, so getting immediate treatment is important.
Symptoms: Fever, confusion, headache, and neck stiffness
Who gets it: Pneumococcal meningitis usually occurs in very young children and older adults. In the U.S., pneumococcus is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in children under age 5.
These infections can also be caused by other bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Pneumococcus, the pneumococcal vaccines, is only one cause.
What Is The Pneumonia Shot
The pneumonia shot is a vaccine that keeps you from getting pneumonia. There are two types of vaccines. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is primarily for children under age two, though it can be given to older ages, as well. The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is for adults over age 65.
The pneumonia vaccine for older adults is one dose. Unlike the flu vaccine, you dont get it every year.
The vaccine teaches your body to make proteins that will destroy the pneumonia bacteria. These proteins are called antibodies and they will protect you and keep you from getting infected. The pneumonia vaccines dont have live bacteria or viruses in them, so you wont get pneumonia from the vaccine.
You should have the pneumonia vaccine if you:
- Are over age 65
- Have a long-term health problem
Vaccines dont prevent all pneumonia, but people who get the shot dont get as sick as those who dont have it. Benefits of the vaccine include:
- Milder infections
- Ringing in your ears
If you know you dont like needles or feel worried before getting a vaccine, you can try to look away while you have the shot. You can also try a relaxation technique like deep breathing or visualization to help you feel calm.
Older people are more likely to have long-term health problems that can make getting an infection dangerous. The pneumonia shot is recommended for most people.
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Pneumococcal Vaccination Rates Correlate With Lower Covid
I gathered national and some local data on vaccination rates against influenza, polio, measles-mumps-rubella , diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis , tuberculosis , pneumococci and Haemophilus influenzae type B . I correlated them with COVID-19 case rates and death rates for 24 nations that had experienced their COVID-19 outbreaks at about the same time. I controlled for factors such as percentage of the population who were obese, diabetic or elderly.
I found that only pneumococcal vaccines afforded statistically significant protection against COVID-19. Nations such as Spain, Italy, Belgium, Brazil, Peru and Chile that have the highest COVID-19 rates per million have the poorest pneumococcal vaccination rates among both infants and adults. Nations with the lowest rates of COVID-19 Japan, Korea, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand have the highest rates of pneumococcal vaccination among both infants and adults.
A recent preprint study from researchers at the Mayo Clinic has also reported very strong associations between pneumococcal vaccination and protection against COVID-19. This is especially true among minority patients who are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic. The report also suggests that other vaccines, or combinations of vaccines, such as Hib and MMR may also provide protection.
Based on these data, I advocate universal pneumococcal and Hib vaccination among children, at-risk adults and all adults over 65 to prevent serious COVID-19 disease.
Who Should Get Pneumococcal Vaccines
CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for all children younger than 2 years old and all adults 65 years or older. In certain situations, older children and other adults should also get pneumococcal vaccines. Below is more information about who should and should not get each type of pneumococcal vaccine.
Talk to your or your childs doctor about what is best for your specific situation.
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Are The Pneumonia Vaccines Safe
Yes, pneumonia vaccines are safe. Like all vaccines, they go through rigorous scientific testing and review. Although both pneumococcal vaccines can cause mild side effects, severe reactions to the vaccines are rare. In one study of adults over age 70 who received the PCV13 and PPSV23 vaccines, there was only one adverse event that was related to the vaccine.
Allergic reactions to vaccines are rare, but they can occur and may be serious. If you have had an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients in the pneumococcal vaccines or to a prior dose of a pneumococcal vaccine, you should not get vaccinated without talking to your healthcare provider first.
If you have questions about whether the pneumonia vaccines are safe for you, discuss this with your healthcare provider. You can also find information about pneumococcal vaccine safety here.
How Do The Pneumonia Vaccines Work
Like all vaccines, pneumococcal vaccines work by showing the immune system a version of the microbe, or a part of it, that is responsible for the infection. The pneumococcal vaccine contains part of the pneumococcus bacterias outer shell, made of molecules called polysaccharides. The immune system learns to recognize it, attack it, and defend the body against it, should it ever come into contact with the real bacteria.
The body does this by making antibodies against the shell of the pneumococcus bacteria. These antibodies stay in your bloodstream as part of your immune system. If you are exposed to pneumococci in the future, the antibodies recognize the bacterias shell and launch a targeted defense.
There are strains of pneumococcus, so the vaccines are made up of molecules from many of those strains.
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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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumonia
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild to severe. The symptoms depend on the type of germ that caused the infection, your age and overall health. Mild signs and symptoms of pneumonia are often similar the symptoms of a cold or flu, but the effects of pneumonia last longer.
Signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:
- Chest pain when you breathe or cough
- Confusion or changes in mental awareness
- Cough, which may produce phlegm
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Lower-than-normal body temperature
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Shortness of breath
Newborns and infants may not show any sign or symptoms of the infection. However, they may vomit, have a fever, cough, be restless or tired, or have difficulty breathing and eating.
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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.
Do You Need To Get Both Vaccines
Most people do not, but some may, depending on age and other health conditions.
All healthy children should get PCV13, and children with certain health conditions should also receive PPSV23. When both vaccines are needed, they are given 8 weeks apart, and PCV13 is given first.
Adults aged 65 and over
All adults aged 65 and older should get PPSV23. If you are a healthy adult over 65, you should talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need PCV13.
PCV13 used to be recommended for all adults over age 65, but the ACIP recently changed its recommendations. This is because, as more children have been vaccinated with PCV13, the types of pneumococci that this vaccine protects against are less likely to spread and infect older adults. PCV13 can still be given, and your healthcare provider can help you decide if it is right for you.
Adults younger than 65
For adults younger than 65, PPSV23 is recommended in certain situations. If you smoke or have a chronic illness, like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , or liver disease, you should get PPSV23 at a younger age. Adults with other conditions, like a weakened immune system, should have both vaccines before age 65.
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If I Had Bronchitis Should I Get Pneumonia Vaccine
If I had bronchitis should I get pneumonia vaccine
There are two types of vaccines that protect against either 13 or 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria.
The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is recommended and provided free for adults at high risk of pneumococcal disease due to HIV infection or having had a stem cell transplant. It is also recommended by Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization but not provided free for other adults with certain medical conditions. It is available for purchase for adults that want protection. Please discuss this further with your health care provider.
Pneumococcal Polysaccaride Vaccine is provided free for seniors 65 years and older and people with certain medical conditions. You can find more information about who is eligible here.
Please contact your health care provider for further questions.
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.
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.
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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How Much Does It Cost
For adults over age 65 who have Medicare Part B, both pneumococcal vaccines are completely covered at no cost, as long as they are given a year apart.
If you have private insurance or Medicaid, you should check with your individual plan to find out if the vaccines are covered. Usually, routinely recommended vaccinations, like the pneumococcal vaccines, are covered by insurance companies without any copays or coinsurance. This means you can often get the vaccines at little or no cost.
Pneumonia Vaccine Side Effects
Most people who get a pneumococcal vaccine do not experience many side effects. While theres always a chance of side effects for any medication, the pneumonia vaccine side effects are usually mild and go away on their own after a few days, with serious reactions being rare.
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccineMild problems following pneumococcal conjugate vaccination can include:
- Reactions at the injection site
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Rotavirus Vaccine Significantly Reduced All Cause Diarrhea
Published in the journal Lancet Regional Health – Western Pacific, the first study looked at Fiji’s national rotavirus vaccine programme five years after it became the first independent Pacific island country to introduce the vaccine in 2012. According to the researchers, rotavirus is severely contagious and the most common cause of diarrhoeal disease among infants and young children. It can even cause death in extreme cases. After taking the vaccine, morbidity and mortality due to rotavirus and all-cause diarrhoea in Fiji fell in those aged two months to 55 years. Rotavirus diarrhoea admissions at the largest hospital among children aged under five fell by 87 per cent. These reductions were most likely due to the vaccine as rotavirus diarrhoeal outbreaks remained blunted for the five years after vaccine introduction.