Besides Pneumonia Pneumococcal Bacteria Can Also Cause:
- Ear infections
Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but children under 2 years of age, people with certain medical conditions, adults 65 years and older, and cigarette smokers are at the highest risk.
Most pneumococcal infections are mild. However, some can result in long-term problems, such as brain damage or hearing loss. Meningitis, bacteremia, and pneumonia caused by pneumococcal disease can be fatal.
Flu And Pneumonia Shots
Having the flu can be dangerous for anyone. But it is extra risky for people with diabetes or other chronic health problems. Having diabetes means having more instances of high blood sugar than a person without diabetes. High blood sugar hinders your white blood cells ability to fight infections.
Beyond people living with diabetes, flu is also extra risky for people with heart disease, smokers and those with chronic lung disease, people who have an impaired immune system , very young children, and people living in very close quarters, such as college dorms, military barracks, or nursing homes.
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.
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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.
New Recommendations For Pneumonia Vaccines Prevnar 13 And Pneumovax 23
There are 1.7 million people in the United States visiting emergency departments with pneumonia as the primary diagnosis, according to an annual National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, and about 50,000 people die every year due to pneumonia. This is why its essential for vulnerable populations to protect themselves from this disease, especially older adults.
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How Do Inactivated Bacterial Vaccines Work
Inactivated bacterialvaccines are sterile biologic products that provide acquired immunity against certain bacterial infections. Inactivated bacterial vaccines work by stimulating the bodys immune system to produce antibodies against specific types of bacteria, and protect a person from becoming infected when exposed to these bacteria.
Inactivated bacterial vaccines are made from proteins or fragments of disease-causing bacteria grown inculture and then killed to prevent them from causing disease. Inactivated bacterial vaccines also contain substances that preserve and stabilize the vaccine, and boost immune response.
The main component of inactivated bacterial vaccines is the bacterial antigen against which the immune system produces antibodies. If exposed to the particular bacterial infection later in life, the immune system of the vaccinated person identifies the bacteria by the antigen, attacks and kills the bacteria, preventing illness.
Some inactivated bacterial vaccines are conjugated with tetanus or diphtheria bacterial toxoids to improve the immune response. Toxoids are toxins that are chemically altered to eliminate toxicity, but can be recognized as bacterial antigens by the immune system.
Inactivated bacterial vaccines do not provide as strong or long-lasting immunity as weakened live vaccines do, but are effective for people with compromised immunity. Inactivated bacterial vaccines provide immunity against the following bacterial infectious diseases:
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.
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Do The Pneumonia Vaccines Work
The pneumococcal vaccines are very effective at preventing pneumonia and other pneumococcal diseases in both adults and children. In one large study of over 84,000 adults aged 65 and older, those who received PCV13 were less likely to get pneumococcal pneumonia than were those who received a placebo shot. The vaccine protected about 45% of vaccinated people from getting pneumonia and about 75% from getting an invasive pneumococcal disease. Invasive pneumococcal disease is the most serious type and can be life-threatening.
PPSV23 is also effective and protects at least 50% of vaccinated, healthy adults from invasive pneumococcal infections.
In children, PCV13 has decreased the amount of invasive pneumococcal disease. According to the CDC, PCV13 prevented about 30,000 cases of invasive disease in the first 3 years it was available.
Getting the vaccine not only protects you from getting pneumonia and other types of pneumococcal disease, but also protects vulnerable people around you who cant get vaccinated.
Complications Of Pneumonia Caused By Covid
Because pneumonia causes the alveoli in the lungs to fill with pus and fluid, breathing can be painful and difficult.
Pneumonia can cause serious health complications, including:
Because COVID-19 attacks the lungs, it would make sense that having COVID-19 would cause lung complications. As of yet, not enough data are available to support this conclusion.
However, as noted above, research does show that COVID-19 can cause severe illness, including pneumonia that can be fatal. A 2020 study by the CDC found that among a group of people with COVID-19, about 70% had complications from pneumonia. Also, people with COVID-19 were twice as likely to get pneumonia compared to people with the flu.
Regarding long-lasting complications from COVID-19, it is still too soon to say for sure whether “long-haulers” are more likely to have underlying chronic medical conditions.
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What Are The Risks Of A Vaccine Reaction
- Redness, swelling, pain, or tenderness where the shot is given, and fever, loss of appetite, fussiness , feeling tired, headache, and chills can happen after PCV13 vaccination.
Young children may be at increased risk for seizures caused by fever after PCV13 if it is administered at the same time as inactivated influenza vaccine. Ask your health care provider for more information.
People sometimes faint after medical procedures, including vaccination. Tell your provider if you feel dizzy or have vision changes or ringing in the ears.
As with any medicine, there is a veryremote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death.
What Happens If I Miss A Dose Of The Whooping Cough Vaccine
If your child misses one of the five doses of the whooping cough vaccine, speak with your healthcare provider. Your child may be able to get the vaccine at their next healthcare appointment.
Teenagers who miss the Tdap booster should get it at their next visit with a healthcare provider. Likewise, adults who have never gotten the pertussis vaccine or have missed a dose should get the Tdap shot at their next healthcare provider appointment.
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Where Can I Find These Vaccines
Your doctors office is usually the best place to receive recommended vaccines for you or your child.
PCV13 is part of the routine childhood immunization schedule. Therefore, it is regularly available for children at:
- Pediatric and family practice offices
- Community health clinics
If your doctor does not have pneumococcal vaccines for adults, ask for a referral.
Pneumococcal vaccines may also be available for adults at:
- Health departments
- Other community locations, such as schools and religious centers
Federally funded health centers can also provide services if you do not have a regular source of health care. Locate one near youexternal icon. You can also contact your state health department to learn more about where to get pneumococcal vaccines in your community.
When receiving any vaccine, ask the provider to record the vaccine in the state or local registry, if available. This helps doctors at future encounters know what vaccines you or your child have already received.
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 .
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A Look At Each Vaccine: Pneumococcal Vaccine
Much like Haemophilus influenzae type b , pneumococcal bacteria affect the most defenseless of the population . The diseases caused by pneumococcus include meningitis , bloodstream infections and pneumonia . The pneumococcal vaccine was first introduced for use in all infants in the United States in 2000. Before the vaccine, every year pneumococcus caused about 700 cases of meningitis, 17,000 cases of bloodstream infections, 200 deaths and 5 million ear infections in children.
Infants and young children are at greatest risk of serious infection because they are unable to develop immunity to the sugar that coats the bacteria, something that older children can do when they are more than 2 years of age.
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?
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Pneumococcal Infections After Influenza
Pneumococcus is known as an opportunistic infection because it lives in the respiratory tract of people without causing disease, but when the respiratory tract is compromised by an infection such as influenza, the bacteria then invades the lungs , bloodstream , or brain and spinal cord . Activities like smoking can also disrupt the lining of the nose and throat and allow for pneumococcal infections and subsequent disease.
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.
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How Do You Catch Pneumococcus
Pneumococcus is a bacterium that is commonly found lining the surface of the nose and the back of the throat in fact, about 25 of every 100 people are colonized with pneumococcus. Many children will come in contact with pneumococcus sometime in the first two years of life. Because most adults have immunity to pneumococcus, a mother will passively transfer antibodies from her own blood to the blood of her baby before the baby is born. The antibodies that the baby gets before birth usually last for a few months. However, as these maternal antibody levels diminish, the baby becomes vulnerable. Most children who first come in contact with pneumococcus don’t have a problem. But every year tens of thousands of children suffer severe, often debilitating, and occasionally fatal infections with pneumococcus most of these children were previously healthy and well nourished.
Does The Vaccine Work
It is estimated that in the first 11 years of the pneumococcal vaccine programme , the vaccine prevented nearly 40,000 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease, and about 2000 deaths.
The original version of the PCV was introduced in 2006. This vaccine protected against seven of the types of bacteria, and resulted in a big reduction in the number of cases of pneumococcal disease in babies caused by these seven types. However, there was an increase in the number of cases caused by other types of pneumococcal bacteria. Six strains in particular were identified as causing most of the new cases of pneumococcal disease.
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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.
Available Vaccines And Vaccination Campaigns
A pneumococcal vaccine that protected against 14 different strains was licensed in 1977, and expanded to protect against 23 strains in 1983. This vaccine is a polysaccharide vaccine called PPSV23 . However, it is most effective in adults, and does not consistently generate immunity in children younger than two years old. A separate vaccine for children called PCV7 was licensed in 2000. PCV7 is a conjugate vaccine it was expanded to include protection against 13 strains in 2010, and renamed PCV13 . PCV13 protects against the bacterial strains responsible for the most severe childhood pneumococcal infections.
PCV7 was added to the recommended childhood vaccination schedule in 2000 . Since the initial recommendation, invasive pneumococcal disease in children has dropped by nearly 80% in the United States.
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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.