What To Know About The Pneumococcal Vaccine
Who needs it: The CDC recommends one pneumococcal vaccine for adults 19 to 64 with certain risk factors . If you work around chronically ill people say, in a hospital or nursing home you should get the vaccine, even if you’re healthy. People 65 and older can discuss with their health care provider whether they should get PCV13 if they haven’t previously received a dose. A dose of PPSV23 is recommended for those 65 and older, regardless of previous inoculations with pneumococcal vaccines.
How often: Space immunizations out. You should receive a dose of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine , then, a year later, a dose of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine . People with any of the risk factors should get one dose of PCV13 and PPSV23 before age 65, separated by eight weeks.
Why you need it: Pneumococcal disease, which can cause pneumonia, kills around 3,000 people a year. Young children and those over 65 have the highest incidence of serious illness, and older adults are more likely to die from it.
Editors note: This article was published on Oct. 26, 2020. It was updated in September 2021 with new information.
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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.
How The Pneumococcal Vaccine Works
Both types of pneumococcal vaccine encourage your body to produce antibodies against pneumococcal bacteria.
Antibodies are proteins produced by the body to neutralise or destroy disease-carrying organisms and toxins.
They protect you from becoming ill if you’re infected with the bacteria.
More than 90 different strains of the pneumococcal bacterium have been identified, although most of these strains do not cause serious infections.
The childhood vaccine protects against 13 strains of the pneumococcal bacterium, while the adult vaccine protects against 23 strains.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Being Vaccinated
The benefits of vaccination generally far outweigh any risks, Privor-Dumm says. Although vaccines do have some side effects, most are mild and temporary.
The bigger con is getting disease, which may lead to further health complications, she adds. For instance, people who are hospitalized with influenza have a greater likelihood of heart attack or stroke following their illness, and the economic consequences of a serious illness can be catastrophic for some. Thats why its best to prevent disease in the first place.
Who Should Get Vaccinated This Fall
Really, everyone over 6 months old should get the flu shot, especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although you can still get the flu even after youve been vaccinated knowing youve had it will likely help your healthcare team diagnose you if you develop symptoms that may be shared by COVID-19 and flu, such as:
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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
How Effective Is Each Vaccine
Vaccines help protect against disease, but no vaccine is 100% effective.
Studies show that at least one dose of Prevnar 13 protects 80% of babies from serious pneumococcal infections, 75% of adults age 65 and older from invasive pneumococcal disease , and 45% of adults age 65 and older from pneumococcal pneumonia.
Studies show that one dose of Pneumovax 23 protects 50% to 85% of healthy adults against invasive pneumococcal disease.
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How Is The Pneumococcal Vaccine Made
Like the Hib vaccine, the pneumococcal vaccine is made from the sugar coating of the bacteria. Antibodies directed against the pneumococcal polysaccharide protect the child without having to take the risk that their first encounter with natural pneumococcus will result in permanent disabilities or death.
Unfortunately, children less than 2 years old don’t develop very good immune responses to this polysaccharide alone. So the pneumococcal vaccine was made in a manner similar to the Hib vaccine . The pneumococcal polysaccharide is linked to a harmless protein. This version of the vaccine is referred to as the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Once linked, young children are able to make an immune response to the polysaccharide. The big difference between the pneumococcal vaccine and the Hib vaccine is the number of different types of polysaccharides that need to be included in the vaccine. Whereas, there is really only one strain of Hib that causes disease in children, there are about 90 different strains of pneumococcus. Fortunately, most of the serious disease in young children is caused by the 13 strains of pneumococcus contained in the vaccine.
The pneumococcal vaccine was found to be highly effective in preventing severe pneumococcal infection in a large trial of children injected with the vaccine. About 40,000 children were included in the initial trial of the vaccine. Since its licensure, the pneumococcal vaccine has been given to millions of children safely.
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 .
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What Are The Most Common Side Effects Of Pneumovax 23 And Prevnar 13
Side effects with pneumococcal vaccines are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days.
Common side effects of Prevnar 13 include:
Injection site pain
Common side effects of Pneumovax 23 include:
Injection site pain
Be sure to talk with your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time.
Who Should Have The Pneumococcal Vaccine
Anyone can get a pneumococcal infection. But some people are at higher risk of serious illness, so it’s recommended they’re given the pneumococcal vaccination on the NHS.
- adults aged 65 or over
- children and adults with certain long-term health conditions, such as a serious heart or kidney condition
Babies are offered 2 doses of pneumococcal vaccine, at 12 weeks and at 1 year of age.
People aged 65 and over only need a single pneumococcal vaccination. This vaccine is not given annually like the flu jab.
If you have a long-term health condition you may only need a single, one-off pneumococcal vaccination, or a vaccination every 5 years, depending on your underlying health problem.
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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
How Much Do Pneumovax 23 And Prevnar 13 Cost
Pneumovax 23 and Prevnar 13 can be quite expensive without insurance. One dose of Pneumovax 23 currently costs around $135 cash price, while one dose of Prevnar 13 costs around $250 cash price. With a GoodRx coupon, you might be able to reduce your cost for these to around $90 and $195, respectively. Read here for information on how to use a GoodRx coupon for vaccines.
All health insurance marketplace plans under the Affordable Care Act, and most other private insurance plans, must cover pneumococcal vaccines without charging a copayment or coinsurance when an in-network provider administers the vaccine even if you have not met a yearly deductible. Medicare does not cover either vaccine.
Remember: The recommendations for who should get a pneumonia vaccination are based on risk factors and age, so be sure to talk to your doctor if you think you might need one. You should be able to receive both Pneumovax 23 and Prevnar 13 at your local pharmacy. Depending on which state you live in, these vaccines may not require a prescription. Be sure to reach out to your pharmacist for more information. The CDC has more information about these vaccinations here.
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Children At High Risk Of Ipd
Infants at high risk of IPD due to an underlying medical condition should receive Pneu-C-13 vaccine in a 4 dose schedule at 2 months, 4 months and 6 months followed by a dose at 12 to 15 months of age. Table 3 summarizes the recommended schedules for Pneu-C-13 vaccine for infants and children at high risk of IPD due to an underlying medical condition by pneumococcal conjugate vaccination history.
In addition to Pneu-C-13 vaccine, children at high risk of IPD due to an underlying medical condition should receive 1 dose of Pneu-P-23 vaccine at 24 months of age, at least 8 weeks after Pneu-C-13 vaccine. If an older child or adolescent at high risk of IPD due to an underlying medical condition has not previously received Pneu-P-23 vaccine, 1 dose of Pneu-P-23 vaccine should be administered, at least 8 weeks after Pneu-C-13 vaccine. Children and adolescents at highest risk of IPD should receive 1 booster dose of Pneu-P-23 vaccine refer to Booster doses and re-immunization. Refer to Immunocompromised persons for information about immunization of HSCT recipients.
Table 3: Recommended Schedules for Pneu-C-13 Vaccine for Children 2 months to less than 18 years of age, by Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccination History
|Age at presentation for immunization||Number of doses of Pneu-C-7, Pneu-C-10 or Pneu-C-13 previously received|
Whats The Difference Between Pcv13 And Ppsv23
|helps protect you against 13 different strains of pneumococcal bacteria||helps protect you against 23 different strains of pneumococcal bacteria|
|usually given four separate times to children under two||generally given once to anyone over 64|
|generally given only once to adults older than 64 or adults older than 19 if they have an immune condition||given to anyone over 19 who regularly smokes nicotine products like cigarettes or cigars|
- Both vaccines help prevent pneumococcal complications like bacteremia and meningitis.
- Youll need more than one pneumonia shot during your lifetime. A 2016 study found that, if youre over 64, receiving both the PCV13 shot and the PPSV23 shot provide the best protection against all the strains of bacteria that cause pneumonia.
- Dont get the shots too close together. Youll need to wait about a year in between each shot.
- Check with your doctor to make sure youre not allergic to any of the ingredients used to make these vaccines before getting either shot.
- a vaccine made with diphtheria toxoid
- another version of the shot called PCV7
- any previous injections of a pneumonia shot
- are allergic to any ingredients in the shot
- have had severe allergies to a PPSV23 shot in the past
- are very sick
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Which Adults Should Get The Pneumococcal Vaccine
The following groups of adults should get both types of the pneumococcal vaccine :
- Adults 65 years and older because they are at high risk of pneumococcal infections
- Adults without a functioning spleen
- Adults who are immune compromised by disease, chemotherapy or steroids
- Individuals who are HIV positive
The following groups of adults should get the polysaccharide pneumococcal vaccine regardless of age:
- Adults who smoke or suffer from alcoholism
- Adults with heart or lung disease, liver disease, asthma, diabetes or cancer
How Worried Should I Be About Omicron
Cases of omicron are doubling about every two days. In the past week, the percentage of omicron cases in the United States rose from 13 percent to 73 percent.
“The major question for everyone right now isn’t whether omicron is going to hit their area. It will,” said Dr. Michael Saag, an infectious disease expert and associate dean for global health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
“The question,” he said, “is how much disease will it cause?”
Experts continue to urge people to get vaccinated and get a booster shot to reduce the risk for severe illness.
As of Tuesday, about 61 percent of the population had been fully vaccinated. Just under 30 percent had the booster shot.
“This is going to hit us hard,” Poehling, of Wake Forest Baptist, said. But she added that the sheer speed of omicron’s spread could mean that the variant will run its course quickly. “If you look at South Africa, they seem to be doing much better now. I don’t anticipate this as long lasting.”
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Before Taking This Medicine
You should not receive Prevnar 13 if you ever had a severe allergic reaction to a pneumococcal or diphtheria toxoid vaccine.
Tell the vaccination provider if you or the child has:
a bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia or easy bruising or
a weak immune system .
Before your child receives Prevnar 13, tell your doctor if the child was born prematurely.
You can still receive a vaccine if you have a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving Prevnar 13.
Tell the vaccination provider if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Can I Get Heart Inflammation From Taking The Vaccine
Yes, there is a very rare possibility.
When people are diagnosed with heart inflammation after taking an mRNA vaccine, they face a very rare chance of death or severity of illness.
Myocarditis, also known as heart inflammation, was found to be associated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine although extremely rare, and mostly mild. In a study on over one million Pfizer-vaccinated people in Israel, scientists found 2.7 excess cases of heart inflammation per 100,000 vaccinated individuals.
Heart inflammation was also mostly found in men aged between 20 and 34, when it was found at all. Essentially, there were just 11 excess cases of heart inflammation per 100,000 infected individuals.
There is no Moderna-specific study on a similar scale, but global medical authorities continue to keep their finger on the pulse of how a vaccine is working. If a potential risk ever becomes substantial, then vaccine guidelines will be updated.
Concurrent Administration Of Vaccines
Pneumococcal vaccines may be administered concomitantly with other vaccines, with the exception of a different formulation of pneumococcal vaccine . There should be at least an 8 week interval between a dose of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and a subsequent dose of Pneu-P-23 vaccine, and at least a 1 year interval between a dose of Pneu-P-23 vaccine and a subsequent dose of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine refer to Immunocompromised persons for information regarding administration of pneumococcal vaccines to HSCT recipients. Different injection sites and separate needles and syringes must be used for concurrent parenteral injections. Refer to Timing of Vaccine Administration in Part 1 for additional information about concurrent administration of vaccines.
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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