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Pneumococcal Vaccine

Pneumococcal Vaccine

Everything you need to know about
the Pneumococcal Vaccine

The pneumococcal vaccine protects against pneumococcal infections that can be serious and even fatal. The pneumonia vaccination is another name for it.

Streptococcus pneumoniae causes pneumococcal infections, which can result in pneumonia, blood poisoning (sepsis), and meningitis.

They have the potential to cause lasting brain damage or even death in the worst-case scenario.

Who should have the pneumococcal vaccine

A pneumococcal infection can affect anyone. However, because some people are at a higher risk of serious illness, pneumococcal immunisation is recommended on the NHS.

These are some of them:

  • Babies
  • Individuals aged 65 and up
  • Anyone from the ages of 2 to 64 with a health condition that increases their risk of pneumococcal infection
  • Anyone at occupational risk, such as welders

At 12 weeks and 1 year of age, babies are given two doses of pneumococcal vaccination.

A single pneumococcal immunisation is required for anyone aged 65 and over. Unlike the flu vaccine, this vaccine is not given every year.

Depending on your underlying health problem, you may only require a single, one-time pneumococcal immunisation or a vaccination every 5 years if you have a long-term health condition.

Babies and the pneumococcal vaccine

As part of their childhood vaccination programme, babies are routinely inoculated with a form of pneumococcal vaccine known as the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV).

Babies born on or after January 1, 2020, will receive two injections, which will be given at:

  • 12 weeks old
  • 1 year old
  • Babies born before this date will continue to be offered 3 doses, at 8 and 16 weeks and a booster at 1 year.

Adults aged 65 or over and the pneumococcal vaccine

If you’re 65 or older, you should be provided with the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination, which is a form of pneumococcal vaccine (PPV).

This one-time immunisation provides excellent protection against dangerous pneumococcal infections.

People with health problems and the pneumococcal vaccine

For children and people aged 2 to 64 who are at a higher risk of pneumococcal infection than the general population, the PPV vaccination is available on the NHS.

This is usually the same group of persons who are eligible for a yearly flu shot.

If you have any of the following, you’re at an increased risk of contracting a pneumococcal infection:

  • You’ve had your spleen removed, your spleen isn’t operating properly, or you’re in danger of having your spleen fail in the future (for example, if you have coeliac disease).
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Heart disease, such as congenital heart disease.
  • Chronic kidney disease is a condition that affects the kidneys.
  • Chronic liver disease, such as liver cirrhosis.
  • Diabetes.
  • A weakened immune system as a result of a medical illness such as HIV
  • Drugs that suppress the immune system, such as chemotherapy or steroid pills.
  • A cochlear implant (a hearing device) – More information on cochlear implants can be found at Action on Hearing Loss.
  • A leak of cerebrospinal fluid (the clear fluid that surrounds the brain and spine) occurred, which could have been caused by an accident or surgery.

Adults and children with severely weakened immune systems (such as those with leukaemia, multiple myeloma, immune system genetic abnormalities, or after a bone marrow transplant) normally receive a single dose of PCV followed by PPV.

The pneumococcal vaccination and welders and metal workers

Those who deal with metal vapours, such as welders, are encouraged to get the pneumococcal vaccine if they have an occupational risk.

Booster doses of pneumococcal vaccine

A single dose of the PPV vaccine will be provided to you if you are at a greater risk of pneumococcal infection.

If your spleen isn’t working properly or you have a chronic renal disease, you may need PPV booster shots every 5 years.

This is due to the fact that your levels of anti-infection antibodies diminish over time.

Your doctor’s office will tell you if you need a booster shot.

The different types of pneumococcal vaccine

Your age and health will determine the type of pneumococcal vaccine you receive. There are two kinds.

Children under the age of two get vaccinated with the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) as part of the NHS immunisation programme. Prevenar 13 is the brand name for it.

On the electronic medications compendium website, read the patient information leaflet for Prevenar 13.

People aged 65 and up, as well as those at high risk due to long-term health issues, are administered the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV).

On the electronic medications compendium website, read the patient information leaflet for PPV.

From the age of two years, children at risk of pneumococcal infections can receive the PPV vaccine. In children under the age of two, the PPV vaccine is ineffective.

How the pneumococcal vaccine works

Both forms of pneumococcal vaccines stimulate the production of antibodies against pneumococcal germs in the body.

Antibodies are proteins made by the body to neutralise or kill pathogens and poisons.

If you get infected with the germs, they keep you from becoming sick.

The pneumococcal bacterium has been found in over 90 distinct strains, with the majority of these strains not causing significant illnesses.

The paediatric vaccine (PCV) protects against 13 pneumococcal bacterial strains, whereas the adult vaccine (PPV) protects against 23 strains.

Effectiveness of the pneumococcal vaccine

The pneumococcal vaccine is particularly effective in children.

Pneumococcal illness has decreased dramatically since this vaccine was added to the NHS paediatric vaccination regimen.

The pneumococcal vaccination, which is administered to older children and adults, is believed to be 50 to 70% effective in preventing pneumococcal illness.

Both types of pneumococcal vaccines are inactivated or “killed” vaccines, meaning they don’t contain any live bacteria. They can’t spread the viruses they’re supposed to protect you from.

Pneumococcal vaccine side effects

The pneumococcal vaccine is extremely safe, yet it might have side effects like any other inoculation.

The vaccination does not include any live germs, thus it is impossible to get the pneumococcal illness from it.

Side effects of the pneumococcal vaccine in babies

The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), which is the version of the pneumococcal vaccine given to babies under the age of two, has a few minor side effects:

  • A loss of appetite
  • A small temperature increase
  • Irritability
  • Redness and oedema at the injection location
  • Feeling drowsy or unable to get a good night’s sleep

The PCV vaccine has a small number of serious adverse effects, which include:

  • A high temperature could cause convulsions (febrile seizures)
  • Allergic reactions, such as a swollen, itchy rash on the skin

Side effects of the pneumococcal vaccine in adults and older children

The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV), a form of the pneumococcal vaccine administered to adults and children over the age of two, has a few minor side effects:

  • 1 to 3 days of mild pain or hardness at the injection site.
  • A small temperature increase.

Allergic responses, which are more serious side effects of the PPV vaccine, are uncommon.

What to do if your child is unwell after pneumococcal vaccination

The most frequent side effects in newborns and young children, such as swelling or redness at the injection site, normally go away within a few days and require no treatment.

Keep your youngster cool if he or she develops a fever. Make sure they don’t have too many layers or blankets on, and provide them with cool liquids.

You can also give them a baby paracetamol or ibuprofen liquid dose according to the bottle’s directions.

Allergic reactions to the pneumococcal vaccine

A kid or adult may develop a significant adverse reaction to either form of pneumococcal immunisation on rare occasions.

This is known as an anaphylactic reaction, and it can result in life-threatening breathing problems.

Anaphylaxis is an uncommon yet dangerous side effect that can occur minutes after receiving the injection. It can be a scary situation at the time, but adrenaline can help.

The doctor or nurse who administers the vaccine will have received training in the treatment of anaphylactic reactions.

Children and adults can achieve a full recovery if they receive therapy as soon as possible.

If your infant or you experience any strange symptoms after getting vaccinated, contact your doctor.

Reporting side effects of the pneumococcal vaccine

You can report potential adverse effects from any type of medicine you’re taking or immunizations you’ve received via the Yellow Card Scheme.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, a drug safety watchdog, is in charge of it (MHRA).

What to do if you miss a dose of pneumococcal vaccine

If you or your child has missed a pneumococcal vaccine dose, talk to your doctor about when you can finish the course.

Who should not have the pneumococcal vaccine

You or your child may need to postpone or avoid getting the pneumococcal vaccine on occasion.

Vaccine allergy

If you or your child has ever had a negative reaction to a vaccination, tell your doctor.

If you’ve had a documented severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the pneumococcal vaccination or any of its ingredients, you might not be able to get it.

However, if the reaction was only minor, such as a rash, the vaccination is normally safe to get.

Fever at the vaccination appointment

It’s okay to get the vaccine if you or your child are feeling a little under the weather at the moment.

However, if you or your child is more gravely ill (for example, with a fever and feeling hot and shaky), it’s preferable to postpone the immunisation until after you’ve recovered.

Breastfeeding and pregnancy

Getting the pneumococcal vaccine during pregnancy and breastfeeding is regarded to be safe.

If you’re pregnant, you should wait until after you’ve delivered your baby to have the vaccine, unless the benefits outweigh the hazards to your child.