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.
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.
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.
General Principles For Vaccine Scheduling
Optimal response to a vaccine depends on multiple factors, including the type of vaccine, age of the recipient, and immune status of the recipient. Recommendations for the age at which vaccines are administered are influenced by age-specific risks for disease, age-specific risks for complications, age-specific responses to vaccination, and potential interference with the immune response by passively transferred maternal antibodies. Vaccines are generally recommended for members of the youngest age group at risk for experiencing the disease for which vaccine efficacy and safety have been demonstrated.
Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids require booster doses to maintain protective antibody concentrations . Unconjugated polysaccharide vaccines do not induce T-cell memory, and additional doses might increase the duration of protection. Conjugation with a protein carrier improves the effectiveness of polysaccharide vaccines by inducing T-lymphocytedependent immunologic function . Many vaccines that stimulate both cell-mediated immunity and neutralizing antibodies can usually induce prolonged immunity, even if antibody titers decline over time . Subsequent exposure to such viruses usually results in a rapid anamnestic antibody response without viremia.
Will Being Vaccinated Against Flu Pneumonia And Shingles Help Prevent Covid
The short answer is no. But reducing your risk for getting sick with the flu, pneumonia, or shingles which is what these vaccines do makes a lot of sense during the pandemic, Privor-Dumm says.
Lowering your risk for vaccine-preventable diseases will help you avoid doctors offices and hospitals, which will reduce any potential exposure to the coronavirus, Privor-Dumm adds.
Plus, Privor-Dumm says, Preventing serious disease can help keep you out of the hospital at a time when health resources may be needed to treat COVID-19 patients.
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Unknown Or Uncertain Vaccination Status
Vaccination providers frequently encounter persons who do not have adequate documentation of vaccinations. With the exception of influenza vaccine and PPSV23, providers should only accept written, dated records as evidence of vaccination self-reported doses of influenza vaccine and PPSV23 are acceptable . The rationale for acceptance for influenza vaccine is that the time period of recall is one year or less, making it very likely that correct recall will occur. The rationale for acceptance for PPSV23 is high frequency of vaccination leads to an increased rate of local reactions due to the reactogenicity of this vaccine. Although vaccinations should not be postponed if records cannot be found, an attempt to locate missing records should be made by contacting previous health care providers, reviewing state or local IISs, and searching for a personally held record. If records cannot be located within a reasonable time, these persons should be considered susceptible and started on the age-appropriate vaccination schedule. Serologic testing for immunity is an alternative to vaccination for certain antigens . However, commercial serologic testing might not always be sufficiently sensitive or standardized for detection of vaccine-induced immunity , and research laboratory testing might not be readily available.
Based on expert opinion.
TABLE 3-1. Recommended and minimum ages and intervals between vaccine doses,,,
Who Should Get Vaccinated This Fall
Really, everyone over 6 months old should get the flu shot, especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although you can still get the flu even after youve been vaccinated knowing youve had it will likely help your healthcare team diagnose you if you develop symptoms that may be shared by COVID-19 and flu, such as:
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
For most people, the effects of Shingrix are mild and short-term. In very rare cases, Shingrix can cause more serious side effects.
Seek urgent medical care if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction a few minutes or hours after your second dose of Shingrix, such as:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Facial swelling
- Swelling in the throat or mouth
You should also let your healthcare provider know if your Shingrix side effects are severe or arent going away on their own.
When Should I Get The Second Dose
The CDC recommends that adults ages 50 and older get a second dose of Shingrix two to six months after their first dose. If youve waited longer than six months since your first dose of Shingrix, its safe to get a second dose right away. Most people dont need to repeat the first dose.
Some immunocompromised adults may need a second dose within one to two months. If you have a disease or are taking medication that affects your immune system, talk to your healthcare provider about the best timeline for your two doses of the shingles vaccine.
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Recommended But Not Funded
Two classifications of IPD risk are recognised: high-risk conditions for which there is significant risk of IPD and atrisk conditions, which on their own may not significantly increase risk, but when combined together or with lifestyle risk factors increase an individuals risk of IPD. This is described as risk stacking IPD incidence substantially increases with the accumulation of concurrent risk factors or conditions. The risk of pneumococcal infections in those with two or more at-risk conditions may be as high as the risk for those with a recognised high-risk condition.
PCV13 and 23PPV are recommended but not funded for the following individuals:
- immune-competent adults at increased risk of pneumococcal disease or its complications because of chronic illness
- adults with cerebrospinal uid leak
- immunocompromised adults at increased risk of pneumococcal disease
- individuals of any age who have had one episode of IPD
Adults aged 65 years and older with no other risk factors
Give one dose of PCV13 followed at least eight weeks later with 23PPV .
When To See A Doctor
A person who is over 65 years of age should talk to their doctor about which pneumonia vaccine may be best for them. The doctor can help determine whether they should get the vaccination, which vaccination to get, and when to get it.
Parents and caregivers of young children should talk to a pediatrician about the schedule for the pneumonia vaccination. The pediatrician can also address any questions or concerns about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccination.
A person does not need to see a doctor for mild reactions to the vaccine, such as tenderness at the injection site, fever, or fatigue.
However, if a person experiences any life threatening side effects, they should seek emergency help immediately.
Signs and symptoms of allergic reactions in children may include:
- respiratory distress, such as wheezing
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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.
Safety Measures For Getting The Flu Jab And/or Pneumococcal Vaccination
Your GP and doctors assistants will ensure that everyone can maintain physical distance during the flu vaccination clinic. They will also ask whether people have symptoms that could indicate COVID-19. If someone has possible COVID-19 symptoms, they can get the flu jab and/or pneumococcal vaccination at a later time. It is possible that you will have to get the flu jab and/or pneumococcal vaccination at a different location, for example in a sports hall. Only the care provider who gives you the injection will approach within 1.5 metres. For that reason, the person vaccinating you will wear a surgical mask that covers the mouth and nose.
You can get the flu jab safely by following the coronavirus measures.
If you had the flu jab and/or pneumococcal vaccination first, then you should wait at least 1 week before getting the COVID-19 vaccination. If you got the COVID-19 vaccination first, then you should wait at least 2 weeks before getting the flu jab and/or pneumococcal vaccination. This waiting period is in case you experience any side-effects.
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Who Should Get Shingrix
Anyone who has ever had chickenpox can develop shingles later in life. However, it is vital for older adults and people with weakened immune systemssuch as people with kidney disease or human immunodeficiency virus to get the shingles vaccine.
The CDC recommends that all adults ages 50 and up and immunocompromised adults ages 19 and over get two doses of Shingrix. This includes people who don’t know whether they had chickenpox and people who previously received Zostavax or the chickenpox vaccine.
Why Do I Need Two Doses Of Shingrix
In addition to a painful rash, shingles can lead to serious health complications like PHN, pneumonia, vision loss, hearing problems, and encephalitis . Research indicates that about 1% to 4% of people with shingles will be hospitalized.
Two doses of Shingrix offer effective protection against shingles and related complications for at least seven years. Among healthy adults ages 50-69, Shingrix is more than 90% effective in preventing PHN when two doses are administered. Among adults ages 70 and older, it is 89% effective.
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Severe Flu Season May Be Coming
Health officials are warning that flu season may be more severe than normal. Thats because we didnt have much of a flu season in 2020-2021, and our immunities have waned.
Dr. Armitage says flu shots reduce risk of getting the flu and significantly reduce the odds of getting severely sick if you do catch the flu.
There will be many people getting flu shots and COVID-19 booster shots at the same time, in addition to those getting their first COVID-19 vaccines. Flu shots are recommended in September and October. It takes about two weeks after vaccination to develop antibodies.
Typically, we can start seeing influenza outbreaks as early as November some years, Dr. Armitage says. For sure, you should have a flu shot by November.
What Are The Side Effects
Vaccines are very safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get pneumococcal disease.
Many people have no side effects from the vaccines. For those that do, side effects are usually mild and last 1 to 2 days . Serious side effects are very rare.
It is important to stay in the clinic for 15 minutes after getting any vaccine because there is a very rare possibility, between one in 100,000 and one in a million, of a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This may include hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the throat, tongue or lips. Should this reaction occur, your health care provider is prepared to treat it. Emergency treatment includes injection of epinephrine and transfer by ambulance to the nearest emergency department. If symptoms develop after you leave the clinic, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
It is important to always report serious or unexpected reactions to your immunizing health care provider.
Read Also: How To Know If You Are Getting Pneumonia
Babies And The Pneumococcal Vaccine
Babies are routinely vaccinated with a type of pneumococcal vaccine known as the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine as part of their childhood vaccination programme.
Babies born on or after 1 January 2020 have 2 injections, which are usually 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.
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.
Why The Recommendations Changed
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
Global Epidemiology Since The Introduction Of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccines
Direct impact of PCV programmes on IPD in children
Reductions in IPD among target cohorts of children in high income countries have been similar for PCV10 and PCV7/13 in reported studies. Québec and Finland both used 2+1 schedules and observed 83 percent and 79 percent reductions in IPD in vaccine-eligible children, respectively. In England, using PCV7 then PCV13 in a 2+1 schedule, there was an estimated 5,000 fewer hospital admissions for bacteraemia, meningitis and pneumonia in children aged under 5 years over 12 years after the introduction of PCV7 and PCV13. The greatest reductions were seen in meningitis in children under 2 years age.
Direct impact of vaccination on non-invasive pneumococcal disease
The impact of pneumococcal conjugate vaccination on the large burden of noninvasive pneumococcal disease has been clearly demonstrated internationally in countries that have introduced these vaccines, particularly through reductions in childhood hospitalisations due to pneumonia. Other impacts, such as on acute otitis media, are less clear and more difficult to measure accurately. However, a systematic review found PCVs were associated with large reductions in risk of pneumococcal acute otitis media, but there was no evidence of benefit against allcause otitis media in high-risk children over 1 year of age or older children with a history of respiratory illness.
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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.