When Should I Seek Help For Injection
Any injection site that continues to be problematic after 48 hours should be seen by your doctor immediately. Other symptoms that may warrant medical care:
- High fever following a vaccination
- Signs of an allergic reaction, which can include difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heartbeat, or dizziness.
Concerned about pain, swelling, or soreness after your vaccine? Find a UPMC Urgent Care location near you.
How To Report A Pneumonia Vaccine Injury
In the wake of suffering damaging side effects such as difficulty breathing, rheumatoid arthritis, an anaphylactic reaction, development of a severe allergy, immune system failure, or a serious infection from the PPSV23 vaccine, PCV13, or the flu vaccine, you should immediately notify your doctor’s office. Be sure to provide the date of vaccination, the vaccine administrators information and the site of injection Your medical provider will ensure that you begin a course of treatment to best address your symptoms. Additionally, you should:
- Tell your doctor exactly what happened, the date and time of your vaccine, and shoulder it was given
- Ask your doctor to file a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System form.
VAERS stands for the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, which is a program managed by the CDC. The program processes submitted reports of vaccine injuries and adverse events from those who have been injured. It is important to note that VAERS does not diagnose those who have been injured with a vaccine injury, but rather compile data about reported adverse reactions for the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration in hopes of improving vaccine safety measures in the future. There are no restrictions to who can file a VAERS report and it is often used as supplemental evidence in vaccine cases when determining the onset of an injury or symptoms.
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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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.
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.
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Why You May Feel Arm Pain After Receiving Any Vaccine
When you receive a vaccine, your body initially thinks its been injured, similar to when you get a cut or scrape. It sends immune system cells to your arm any time your skin is broken to investigate what happened. Once your immune cells realize theres an invader in this case, the vaccine in your arm, they signal your body to relax the blood vessels around the area and send more immune cells to help fight.
This process is called vaccine reactogenicity. It allows your immune system to create antibodies infection-fighting proteins that will help prevent you from getting sick if you ever come into contact with the real virus or bacteria. Part of this process includes producing inflammation. The more inflammation your body creates, the more sore and swollen your arm will be.
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.
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Pneumonia Vaccine Side Effects
Most people who get a pneumococcal vaccine do not experience many side effects. While theres always a chance of side effects for any medication, the pneumonia vaccine side effects are usually mild and go away on their own after a few days, with serious reactions being rare.
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccineMild problems following pneumococcal conjugate vaccination can include:
- Reactions at the injection site
Pneumonia Vaccine Injury Compensation
If you or a loved one has suffered an adverse reaction, illness, severe or mild side effects, and/or a shoulder injury after receiving the pneumonia vaccine, you may qualify for compensation from a federal program called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Call the national vaccine injury attorneys at My Vaccine Lawyer for more information. Not only is the phone call free, but our representation comes at no cost to you.
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Side Effects Of The Pneumococcal Vaccine In Adults And Older Children
Mild side effects of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine , the version of the pneumococcal vaccine given to adults and children over the age of 2, include:
- mild soreness or hardness at the site of the injection lasting 1 to 3 days
- a slightly raised temperature
More serious side effects of the PPV vaccine, such as allergic reactions, are rare.
Who Should Not Get The Vaccine
People should not get the vaccine if they have had a life threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose.
Additionally, a person should not undergo vaccination if they have had an allergic reaction to medication containing diphtheria toxoid or an earlier form of the pneumonia vaccination .
Lastly, people who are sick or have allergic reactions to any of the ingredients of the vaccine should talk to a doctor before getting the shot.
A pneumonia shot will not reduce pneumonia. However, it helps prevent invasive pneumococcal diseases, such as meningitis, endocarditis, empyema, and bacteremia, which is when bacteria enter the bloodstream.
Noninvasive pneumococcal disease includes sinusitis.
There are two types of pneumonia shots available. Which type a person gets depends on their age, whether or not they smoke, and the presence of any underlying medical conditions.
The two types are:
- Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine : Healthcare providers recommend this vaccine for young children, people with certain underlying conditions, and some people over the age of 65 years.
- Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine : Healthcare providers recommend this vaccine for anyone over 65 years of age, people with certain underlying conditions, and people who smoke.
According to the
- roughly 8 in 10 babies from invasive pneumococcal disease
- 45 in 100 adults 65 years or older against pneumococcal pneumonia
- 75 in 100 adults 65 years or older against invasive pneumococcal disease
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Serious Vaccine Side Effects
A more serious reaction to vaccines is rare and isnt always cause to not receive any more vaccinations in the future. For the most part, reactions are mild and go away in a few days. But there are some instances where you should contact your healthcare provider for medical advice.
Some side effects that are more serious include:
- Shoulder pain: This occurs when you receive the shot too high on your upper arm. This can cause pain that starts within 48 hours along with difficulty moving your shoulder around. It lasts longer than the normal timeline for injection site reaction for that vaccine and taking pain medication doesnt relieve the pain.
- Infection: Its rare, but receiving a shot punctures your skin, and does put you at a very small chance of the area becoming infected. If this occurs, its likely you would need to be treated with antibiotics.
- Anaphylaxis: The risk of a serious allergic reaction is about 1.31 for every million vaccine doses. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include swelling of the face, lips, and neck along with rapid heartbeat, and trouble breathing. It usually happens immediately after and in lesser cases, several hours post-vaccination. Very few people will have an anaphylactic reaction after 24 hours.
Who Should Not Get These Vaccines
Because of age or health conditions, some people should not get certain vaccines or should wait before getting them. Read the guidelines below specific to pneumococcal vaccines and ask your or your childs doctor for more information.
Children younger than 2 years old should not get PPSV23. In addition, tell the person who is giving you or your child a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine if:
You or your child have had a life-threatening allergic reaction or have a severe allergy.
- Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any of the following should not get PCV13:
- A shot of this vaccine
- An earlier pneumococcal conjugate vaccine called PCV7
- Any vaccine containing diphtheria toxoid
You or your child are not feeling well.
- People who have a mild illness, such as a cold, can probably get vaccinated. People who have a more serious illness should probably wait until they recover. Your or your childs doctor can advise you.
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Bacteremia And Septic Shock
If bacteria caused your pneumonia, they could get into your blood, especially if you didn’t see a doctor for treatment. It’s a problem called bacteremia.
Bacteremia can lead to a serious situation known as . It’s a reaction to the infection in your blood, and it can cause your blood pressure to drop to a dangerous level.
When your blood pressure is too low, your heart may not be able to pump enough blood to your organs, and they can stop working. Get medical help right away if you notice symptoms like:
Your doctor can test your mucus or the pus in your lungs to look for infection. They may also take an X-ray or a CT scan of your lungs.
Your doctor will likely treat your lung abscesses with antibiotics. They may do a procedure that uses a needle to remove the pus.
What Causes Pneumonia
There are many types of germs that can cause pneumonia. However, there are five main causes of pneumonia:
- Infectious agents, such as fungi
- Various chemicals
The most common causes are bacteria and viruses in the air we breathe. Pneumonia is classified according to the type of germ that caused the illness and where the infection was picked up.
Community-acquired pneumoniaCommunity-acquired pneumonia is the most common type of pneumonia. Its usually contracted near hospitals or other health care facilities from things like:
- Bacteria. The most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in the US is Streptococcus pneumoniae.
- Bacteria-like organisms. Mycoplasma pneumoniae can also cause pneumonia and typically produces milder symptoms, also known as walking pneumonia.
- Fungi. Most common in those with chronic health problems or weakened immune systems. Fungi can be found in soil or bird droppings and vary depending on location.
- Some viruses that cause colds and the flu can cause pneumonia. This is the most common cause of pneumonia for children younger than 5.
Hospital-acquired pneumoniaThere is a possibility of catching pneumonia during a hospital stay for a different illness. This can be serious, since the bacteria that causes it can be more resistant to antibiotics. People on breathing machines often used in intensive care units are at higher risk of getting this type.
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What Is Covid Arm
You may have heard of COVID arm and are concerned it will happen to you. This reaction doesnt happen to many people and usually resolves on its own, even if its not fun to experience. COVID arm is a local reaction by your immune system, meaning it occurs around the injection site. You may experience:
- A painful and/or itchy rash that can get very large
- A firm bump under your skin where you received your shot
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , COVID arm can start a few days to a week or more after getting your shot. Its not caused by the coronavirus itself, since both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are MRNA vaccines that dont contain the virus.
According to Phase 3 trial results in the New England Journal of Medicine, this rash affected 0.8% of participants after the first dose, and 0.2% of participants after the second shot. In both cases, a very small number.
Age can play a role in who has a higher chance of having COVID arm. It seems as if younger patients have more arm pain compared to older patients looking at a study that was done using the Pfizer vaccine, Dr. Palli says.
If you do notice a rash after your first COVID-19 vaccination, inform your healthcare provider before you get the second one. A rash may not be a reason you shouldnt get your second dose. However, your healthcare provider may advise you to get the second injection in your other arm. Other things that can help treat the rash include:
Pneumococcal Vaccine Injuries Can Happen To Anyone
The CDC recommends the pneumococcal vaccine to people of all ages that meet certain criteria. Most people are vaccinated before age two, however. According to the CDCs Childhood Vaccination Schedule, children should receive four doses of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine between 2 months and 15 months old. Children who do not complete the four doses must get one dose of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine between ages two and four .
Adults age 65 or older are also given the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. The CDC encourages people between the ages of 2 and 64 with weakened immune systems to get the pneumococcal conjugate shot.
The CDC also recommends the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine for all adults 65 years or older, people ages 2 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions, and adults ages 19 through 64 years old who smoke cigarettes.
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Who Should Get The Vaccine
People over age 65. As you age, your immune system doesnât work as well as it once did. Youâre more likely to have trouble fighting off a pneumonia infection. All adults over age 65 should get the vaccine.
Those with weakened immune systems. Many diseases can cause your immune system to weaken, so itâs less able to fight off bugs like pneumonia.
If you have heart disease, diabetes, emphysema, asthma, or COPD , youâre more likely to have a weakened immune system, which makes you more likely to get pneumonia.
The same goes for people who receive chemotherapy, people who have had organ transplants, and people with HIV or AIDS.
People who smoke. If youâve smoked for a long time, you could have damage to the small hairs that line the insides of your lungs and help filter out germs. When theyâre damaged, they arenât as good at stopping those bad germs.
Heavy drinkers. If you drink too much alcohol, you may have a weakened immune system. Your white blood cells donât work as well as they do for people with a healthy immune system.
People getting over surgery or a severe illness. If you were in the hospital ICU and needed help breathing with a ventilator, youâre at risk of getting pneumonia. The same is true if youâve just had major surgery or if youâre healing from a serious injury. When your immune system is weak because of illness or injury or because itâs helping you get better from surgery, you canât fight off germs as well as you normally can.