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 .
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.
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.
Recommended Reading: Signs Or Symptoms Of Pneumonia
What Is The Pneumonia Vaccine Exactly
The pneumonia vaccine helps prevent pneumococcal disease, which is any kind of illness caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. That includes pneumonia and meningitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . There are actually two types of pneumococcal vaccines in the US:
- Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, known as PCV13
- Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, known as PPSV23
PCV13 protects against 13 types of bacteria that cause pneumococcal disease, the CDC says, and specifically works against the most serious types of pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia, meningitis, and bacteremia. PPSV23 protects against 23 types of bacteria that cause pneumococcal disease and helps prevent infections like meningitis and bacteremia.
The pneumococcal vaccines can be lifesaving. Pneumococcal pneumonia kills about one in 20 older adults who get it, according to the CDC. The vaccines offer a lot of protection. PCV13 can protect three in four adults ages 65 and up against invasive pneumococcal disease and nine in 20 adults ages 65 and older against pneumococcal pneumonia, per CDC data. One shot of PPSV23 protects up to 17 in 20 healthy adults against invasive pneumococcal disease.
Are You 65 Or Older Get Two Vaccinations Against Pneumonia
- By Gregory Curfman, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Former Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Health Publishing
ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
If you or a loved one is age 65 or older, getting vaccinated against pneumonia is a good idea so good that the Centers for Disease Control now recommends that everyone in this age group get vaccinated against pneumonia twice.
This new recommendation is based on findings from a large clinical trial called CAPiTA, which were published today in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Streptococcus pneumoniae, sometimes just called pneumococcus, is a common bacterium that can cause serious lung infections like pneumonia. It can also cause invasive infections of the bloodstream, the tissues covering the brain and spinal cord , and other organs and tissues. Older individuals are especially prone to being infected by Pneumococcus, and these infections are often deadly.
The dark spots are pneumonia-causing Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria isolated from the blood of an infected person.
One caveat is that while PCV13 is effective in preventing pneumonia caused by S. pneumoniae, it does not prevent pneumonia caused by viruses or other bacteria.
Read Also: Treatment For Walking Pneumonia In Adults
What Are Some Side Effects That I Need To Call My Doctor About Right Away
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash hives itching red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever wheezing tightness in the chest or throat trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking unusual hoarseness or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
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.
Patients In Health Care Institutions
Residents of long-term care facilities should receive Pneu-P-23 vaccine. Refer to Recommendations for Use for information about pneumococcal vaccination of individuals at increased risk of IPD. Refer to Immunization of Patients in Health Care Institutions in Part 3 for additional information about vaccination of patients in health care institutions.
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.
What Is Pneumococcal Disease
Pneumococcal disease is caused by a specific type of bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae. Its most common in children, but can also cause significant complications in older adults or people with chronic conditions.
The pneumococcal bacterium is contagious, which means that it can be passed from one person to another. This typically happens through direct contact with respiratory secretions like saliva or mucus.
Developing a pneumococcal infection can lead to a variety of conditions, some of which can be life threatening. Conditions caused by pneumococcal infections include:
Vaccination against a pneumococcal infection helps prevent you or your child from becoming sick from pneumococcal diseases. It also aids in preventing these diseases from spreading within your community.
Vaccination cant always prevent all cases of pneumococcal disease. Nevertheless, according to the , even just 1 dose can help protect against a variety of pneumococcal infections.
There are two vaccines available for pneumococcal disease:
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.
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.
Path To Improved Health
Pneumococcal vaccines can protect you against getting pneumonia, which is contagious and spreads from close, person-to-person contact. Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs and can lead to many symptoms, including:
- chest pains
- bringing up mucus when you cough
For seniors, pneumonia can be very serious and life-threatening. This is especially true if you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or COPD. Pneumonia can also develop after youve had a case of the flu or a respiratory virus such as COVID-19. It is extremely important to stay current on flu shots each year in addition to your pneumococcal vaccines.
While PPSV23 and PCV13 do not protect against all types of pneumonia, they can make it less likely that you will experience severe and possibly life-threatening complications from the illness.
The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that seniors who have not had either pneumococcal vaccine should get a dose of PCV13 first, and then a dose of PPSV23 6-12 months later. The vaccines cannot be given at the same time. If you have recently had a dose of PPSV23, your doctor will wait at least one year to give you PCV13.
Who Should Get These Vaccinations
Pneumonia vaccination is not recommended for everyone. The vaccines are primarily used to protect people who are at an increased risk of serious illness.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends PCV13 for:
- Cochlear implants
- Cerebrospinal fluid leak
The Different Types Of Pneumococcal Vaccine
The type of pneumococcal vaccine you’re given depends on your age and health. There are 2 types.
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is used to vaccinate children under 2 years old as part of the NHS vaccination schedule. It’s known by the brand name Prevenar 13.
Children at risk of pneumococcal infections can have the PPV vaccine from the age of 2 years onwards. The PPV vaccine is not very effective in children under the age of 2.
Pneumonia Shot Allergic Reactions
Often people want to know about pneumonia shot side effects. The pneumonia vaccine is generally safe.
There are some, who may experience a bit of soreness, redness, and swelling at the site, where the vaccine is taken. This soreness can last anywhere between one to three days.
A very small number of people may get fever, general muscle pain, or headache. These symptoms are often seen soon after the pneumonia vaccine is given. They do not generally last for more than two days.
Severe pneumonia shot reactions include a hard and sore lump at the place the vaccine is given.
Although rare, due to a severe allergic reaction, the person may suffer from skin rashes and/or hives.
Swelling of the throat, mouth, and face is also observed as a result of pneumonia vaccine allergic reaction.
Some people may experience shortness of breath and/or rapid heartbeat. Some may suffer from pain in the muscles and joints, fatigue, headache, etc.
There have been cases of a drop in blood pressure leading to loss of consciousness.
If a person is known to suffer from drops in platelet count due to unidentified reasons, he may experience the same for a short period of time.
Some people may display symptoms of anaphylactic shock, such as severe swelling and itching of the eyes or face, hives, hoarse voice, increased heartbeat, swelling beneath the skin, swollen glands, difficulty in swallowing and breathing, drowsiness, etc.
What Are The Important Side Effects Of Pneumovax 23
Common side effects of pneumococcal vaccine are:
- myalgia .
Clinical Trials Experience
Because clinical trials are conducted under widelyvarying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of avaccine cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of anothervaccine and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.
- In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlledcrossover clinical trial, subjects were enrolled in four different cohortsdefined by age and vaccination status .
- Subjects in each cohort were randomizedto receive intramuscular injections of Pneumovax 23 followed by placebo , or placebo followed by Pneumovax 23, at 30-day intervals.
- The safety of an initial vaccination was comparedto revaccination with Pneumovax 23 for 14 days following each vaccination.
- All 1008 subjects received placebo injections.
- Initial vaccination was evaluated in a total of 444subjects .
- Revaccination was evaluated in 564 subjects .
Serious Adverse Experiences
In this study, 10 subjects had serious adverseexperiences within 14 days of vaccination: 6 who received Pneumovax 23 and 4who received placebo. Serious adverse experiences within 14 days afterPneumovax 23 included
In this clinical study an increased rate of localreactions was observed with revaccination at 3-5 years following initialvaccination.
The most common systemicadverse reactions reported after Pneumovax 23 were as follows:
- myalgia and
Vaccines For Children Program
The Vaccines for Children Program provides vaccines to children whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them. A child is eligible if they are younger than 19 years old and meets one of the following requirements:
- American Indian or Alaska Native
If your child is VFC-eligible, ask if your doctor is a VFC provider. For help in finding a VFC provider near you, contact your state or local health departments VFC Program Coordinator or call CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO .
Get The Pneumonia Vaccine At Your Local Pharmacy
We have a pneumonia vaccination service offering Prevenar 13 for anyone over 18, as long as its safe for you to have. You can book your vaccine online or come into store and speak to a pharmacist first to check its suitable for you. This is a great option for people who want to get vaccinated but who dont qualify for a free jab on the NHS.
Who Should Take The Shot
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is given to people who have impaired immune system due to a disease. People above the age of 65, and people who have moved into a chronic care facility are also advised to take this vaccine. The injection is administered into the arm muscle , or into the tissue below the skin. This vaccine is normally given in the upper arm. Usually, one shot of the vaccine is sufficient, but people with high risk will need to take a second dose of the vaccine. The second shot needs to be taken only after three to five years after the first shot for pneumonia prevention. There are many factors which will decide if the booster shot is required. Avoiding the shot because a person has mild fever, cold, etc. is not recommended. In case the person is at risk, and does not know if he was vaccinated previously, he should get himself vaccinated without any further delay. Young children are also given this vaccine. Prevnar 13 pneumococcal vaccine is used to vaccinate infants.
Whats In The Pneumonia Vaccine
The first thing to know is that there are two types of pneumonia vaccine:
- Prevenar 13 pneumococcal conjugate vaccine which is given to babies and young children as part of their routine NHS vaccinations. It can also be given to adults who arent in a high-risk group. This type prevents against 13 strains of bacteria that can cause pneumonia.
- Pneumovax 23 pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine which is given to people over 65 and anyone with a health condition that makes them high-risk for pneumonia and its complications. This type prevents against 23 strains of bacteria that can cause pneumonia.
Both of these vaccines work in the same way: by encouraging your body to produce antibodies which can fight off pneumococcal bacteria the bacteria that cause pneumonia. Once youve had the vaccine, your body will be better able to fight off infection.
This year to help support the NHS we are just offering the Prevenar 13 vaccination in our stores. This is so the NHS has enough of the Pneumovax 23 to vaccinate those in our communities who are most at risk of catching pneumonia. If you fall into the NHS high-risk category, please contact your GP for advice and to have Pneumovax 23.