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When Can You Get Pneumonia Vaccine

The Different Types Of Pneumococcal Vaccine

How long should you wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine after getting a pneumonia shot?

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.

Do I Need A Pneumonia Vaccine

Although the pneumonia vaccine cant prevent all cases, it can lower your chances of catching the disease. And if youve had the shot and you do get pneumonia anyway, you will probably have a much milder case.

Older adults and some people with health problems are more likely to get pneumonia, a lung infection that makes it harder to breathe. Its more common among people whose immune systems are weak.

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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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:

How To Stay Safe

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Given that COVID-19 is a respiratory illness just as pneumonia is, it is important to do your best to minimize your risk of contracting COVID-19, which could potentially cause severe respiratory complications.

The same precautions you’ve been taking to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic will, of course, keep you safe from developing pneumonia secondary to COVID-19, too. Be diligent about wearing a well-fitting mask, social distancing, and washing your hands.

A few other tips to keep in mind for recovery from pneumonia are to:

  • Control your fever with NSAIDs or acetaminophen .
  • Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen secretions and to cough up phlegm.
  • Avoid taking cough medicines before talking to your healthcare provider first because coughing is one of the ways your body is working to get rid of the pneumonia infection.
  • Drink warm beverages like tea or hot water.
  • Use a humidifier, and take steamy baths or showers to help open your airway and ease your breathing.
  • Stay away from smoke to allow your lungs to heal themselves. If you are a smoker, this would be a good time to think about quitting.
  • Get rest. Stay home and take it easy for a while until you feel better and stronger.

These are all things you can do from the safety and comfort of your own home. Taking care of yourself and seeking medical care as needed can help keep you safe from COVID-19.

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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.

Why Are The Pneumonia Vaccines Important

Vaccines, like the pneumonia vaccines, can prevent or decrease the severity of diseases. Unfortunately, around 50,000 people die from pneumonia in the United States each year.3 It is passed along through airborne droplets, such as from a cough or sneeze, so it is a highly contagious infection.2 It is crucial to receive the pneumococcal vaccine to not only protect yourself but to protect your loved ones around you. Especially if you have a breathing condition like asthma or COPD, it is important to have the pneumonia vaccines to prevent respiratory infections that can potentially make your breathing worse. Talk to your provider or local pharmacy if you are due for your pneumonia vaccine today.

References:

  • Principles of Vaccination. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/prinvac.html. Published September 8, 2015. Accessed February 14, 2019.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/pneumo/public/index.html. Published December 6, 2017. Accessed February 14, 2019.
  • Top 20 Pneumonia Facts . American Thoracic Society. https://www.thoracic.org/patients/patient-resources/resources/top-pneumonia-facts.pdf. Accessed February 14, 2019.
  • Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule for ages 19 years or older, United States, 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/adult.html#note-pneumo. Published January 2019. Accessed February 14, 2019.
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    Who Shouldn’t Get The Pneumonia Vaccine

    If you don’t meet the recommendations for the pneumonia vaccine, you really don’t need to get it, pulmonary critical care expert Reynold Panettieri, MD, director of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Science at Rutgers University, tells Health. “It’s a risk-benefit ratio,” he explains. “If you’re under 65 and are otherwise healthy, your likelihood of developing pneumococcal pneumonia is unlikely,” he says.

    But there are some people who explicitly shouldn’t get the vaccines, per the CDC. Those include:

    • People who have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to PCV13, PPSV23, an early pneumococcal conjugate vaccine called PCV7, the DTaP vaccine, or any parts of these vaccines. Talk to your doctor if you’re unsure.
    • People who are currently ill.

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    Should I Get Pneumonia Vaccine If I Have Asthma

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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.

    Pneumonia And Long Covid

    In a Q& A about lingering COVID-19 symptoms, the Cleveland Clinic notes that it is seemingly random who experiences long-lasting symptoms and who doesn’t. So, its not quite clear whether having pneumonia in the past is connected with having long COVID.

    As a way to find answers, in 2021, the National Institutes of Health launched an ongoing study into the underlying biological causes of prolonged symptoms and what makes some people more likely to get long COVID.

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    While not a seasonal vaccine or as widely prescribed as the flu shot, the pneumococcal vaccine helps protect those most at risk for serious pneumococcal infections that can lead to complications, a hospital stay or even death.

    And in the age of COVID-19, its especially important to focus on the health and safety of your lungs, says pulmonologist Anu Suri, MD, FCCP. For those who have preexisting conditions, even more so.

    Why The Recommendations Changed

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    Both the CDC and AAP say safety data and a need to catch up children and teens on missed vaccinations played a role.

    “The AAP supports giving other childhood and adolescent immunizations at the same time as COVID-19 vaccines, particularly for children and teens who are behind on their immunizations, the AAPs statement reads. Between the substantial data collected on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, and the extensive experience with non-COVID-19 vaccines which shows the immune response and side effects are generally similar when vaccines are given together as when they are administered alone, the benefits of co-administration and timely catch up on vaccinations outweigh any theoretical risk.

    Woodworth also said that updated co-administration recommendations may facilitate catch up vaccination of adolescents. She cited data that showed the administration of many other vaccines has declined during the pandemic.

    Specifically, vaccine orders from providers were down 11.7 million doses as of May 2, 2021 when compared with 2019. The gap was largest in vaccines usually given to teens, including:

    • The Tdap vaccine
    • HPV vaccine
    • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine

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    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.

    How Does The Pneumonia Vaccine Work

    There are currently two vaccines administered in the United States:

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine . This vaccine joins a protein which helps build immunity. Infants and very young children do not respond to polysaccharide antigens, but linkage to this protein enables the developing immune system to recognize and process polysaccharide antigens, leading to production of antibody. It helps protect against disease from13 types of Streptococcal pneumoniae capsular serotypes that are the most common cause of serious infection. Typically, children receive three doses and adults at high risk of severe pneumococcal infection receive one dose.
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine . This vaccine looks like certain bacteria. This stimulates the body to build protection against the 23 serotypes of Streptococcal pneumonia contained in the vaccine. These 23 serotypes now represent at least 50% to 60% of pneumococcal disease isolates in adults. Most people receive a single dose, with one to two boosters recommended for some.
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    Summary Of Information Contained In This Naci Statement

    The following highlights key information for immunization providers. Please refer to the remainder of the Statement for details.

    1. What

    Streptococcus pneumoniae is a bacterium that can cause many types of diseases including invasive pneumococcal disease , and community-acquired pneumonia .

    For the prevention of diseases caused by S. pneumoniae in adults, two types of vaccines are available in Canada: pneumococcal 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine containing 23 pneumococcal serotypes and pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine containing 13 pneumococcal serotypes.

    NACI has been tasked with providing a recommendation from a public health perspective on the use of pneumococcal vaccines in adults who are 65 years of age and older, following the implementation of routine childhood pneumococcal vaccine programs in Canada.

    2. Who

    Information in this statement is intended for provinces and territories making decisions for publicly funded, routine, immunization programs for adults who are 65 years of age and older without risk factors increasing their risk of IPD. These recommendations supplement the recent NACI recommendations on this topic that were issued for individual-level decision making in 2016.

    3. How

    4. Why

    What Is The Pneumonia Vaccine

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    The pneumonia vaccine is an injection that prevents you from contracting pneumococcal disease. There are two pneumococcal vaccines licensed by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States:

  • PCV13 Prevnar 13®: This vaccine helps protect against the 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria that most commonly cause serious infections in children and adults. Doctors give this vaccine to children at 12 through 15 months, 2, 4, and 6 years old. Adults who need this vaccine get just one shot.
  • PPSV23 Pneumovax23®: This vaccine helps protect against serious infections caused by 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. Doctors give a single shot of this vaccine to people who need it, but the CDC recommends one or two additional shots for people with certain chronic medical conditions.
  • The Center for Disease Control recommends the PCV13 vaccine for:

    • All children younger than 2 years old
    • People 2 years or older with certain medical conditions

    The CDC recommends PPSV23 for:

    • All adults 65 years or older
    • People 2 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions
    • Smokers 19 through 64 years old

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    Types Of Pneumonia Vaccine

    There are two vaccines which can provide protection against Streptococcus pneumoniae. They cannot prevent other types of bacterial pneumonia or any associated with a fungus or virus.

    The two FDA-approved vaccines immunize a person against the specific serotypes that are most likely to cause illness and invasive disease. They are:

    • PCV13, marketed under the name Prevnar 13,which prevents 13 of the most severe types of S. pneumoniae
    • PPSV23, marketed under the name Pneumovax 23, which protects against an additional 23 S. pneumoniae serotypes

    Neither vaccine is made from a live or whole bacteria but rather parts of the bacterial shell. While these components cannot cause disease, the immune system recognizes them as threats and triggers a defensive response in the same way it would to a real bacteria.

    The PVC13 vaccine is delivered intramuscularly either into the deltoid muscle of the upper arm or the vastus lateralis muscle of the external thigh. The PPSV23 shot can either be given intramuscularly or subcutaneously .

    Your Risk Of Getting Pneumonia Depends On Your Age

    Anyone can get pneumonia, but the risk is higher in children ages 18 and younger and adults older than 65 because both populations have compromised immune systems. Kids immune systems have not fully developed. And because our immune systems weaken with age, seniors have a harder time fighting off infections like pneumonia.

    If you suffer from a chronic condition such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , you are also at an increased risk of getting pneumonia.

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    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
    • Fatigue
    • 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.

    Whats The Difference Between Pcv13 And Ppsv23

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    PCV13
    helps protect you against 13 different strains of pneumococcal bacteriahelps protect you against 23 different strains of pneumococcal bacteria
    usually given four separate times to children under twogenerally 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 conditiongiven 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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