Know The Facts About The Pneumonia Vaccine
Just as with a flu shot, and now the COVID-19 vaccines, some people believe that getting a pneumococcal vaccine will cause them to come down with the disease or experience long-term side effects.
This is absolutely not true, Dr. Suri says.
Not only will the pneumococcal vaccine help reduce the risk of contracting certain types of bacterial pneumonia, it also guards against serious consequences resulting from the flu and severe infections, such as .
For young children, older adults, smokers and those with other risk factors, the vaccine is a healthy choice to make.
I cant see any reason to avoid this vaccine and every reason to get it, she says.
Do You Need To Get Both Vaccines
Most people do not, but some may, depending on age and other health conditions.
All healthy children should get PCV13, and children with certain health conditions should also receive PPSV23. When both vaccines are needed, they are given 8 weeks apart, and PCV13 is given first.
Adults aged 65 and over
All adults aged 65 and older should get PPSV23. If you are a healthy adult over 65, you should talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need PCV13.
PCV13 used to be recommended for all adults over age 65, but the ACIP recently changed its recommendations. This is because, as more children have been vaccinated with PCV13, the types of pneumococci that this vaccine protects against are less likely to spread and infect older adults. PCV13 can still be given, and your healthcare provider can help you decide if it is right for you.
Adults younger than 65
For adults younger than 65, PPSV23 is recommended in certain situations. If you smoke or have a chronic illness, like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , or liver disease, you should get PPSV23 at a younger age. Adults with other conditions, like a weakened immune system, should have both vaccines before age 65.
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How Do You Get Immunised Against Pneumococcal Disease
You can only get pneumococcal vaccines on their own, not as a combination vaccine. Different vaccines protect against different types of pneumococcal disease. They are all given as a needle.
There are 2 types of pneumococcal vaccine:
- Pneumovax 23 – PDF 21 KB – covers 23 strains of pneumococcal disease.
The type of vaccine used and the dosage schedule will depend on age and any conditions that put people at higher risk of getting pneumococcal disease. Your doctor can tell you which vaccine they will use for your pneumococcal immunisation.
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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 .
Do I Need To Pay For Pneumococcal Immunisation
Vaccines covered by the National Immunisation Program are free for people who are eligible. See the NIP Schedule to find out which vaccines you or your family are eligible to receive.
Eligible people get the vaccine for free, but your health care provider may charge a consultation fee for the visit. You can check this when you make your appointment.
If you are not eligible for free vaccine, you may need to pay for it. The cost depends on the type of vaccine, the formula and where you buy it from. Your immunisation provider can give you more information.
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How Often Do I Need To Get The Pneumonia Vaccine
The pneumonia vaccine also known as the pneumococcal vaccine offers protection against several strains of bacteria that can cause pneumonia. There are two types of the vaccine, one of which is specifically designed for adults over the age of 65 and anyone particularly high-risk because of a long-term health condition. The other vaccine Prevnar 13 is available in our stores for adults aged 18 and over.*
Most adults getting the pneumonia vaccine will only need to get it once. Others who are high risk may need to get booster jabs every few years.
If youve never had the pneumonia vaccine, and you think you could benefit, you should check to see if youre eligible for it on the NHS. If not, you can book yours with us and have it in your local LloydsPharmacy.
What Are Other Causes Of Pneumonia
Pneumococcal disease is not the only cause of pneumonia. Viruses, fungi, and other bacteria can cause pneumonia too. Some of the most common causes of pneumonia include:
- The flu
- Respiratory syncytial virus
- The common cold
Less often, illnesses like whooping cough, measles, and chickenpox can cause pneumonia. Vaccines are available for these illnesses. Getting these vaccines along with the flu, COVID-19, and pneumococcal vaccines can help you reduce the chances you get pneumonia. Pneumonia can be serious. About 3 million Americans go to the emergency department each year for pneumonia. Around 50,000 Americans die each year from pneumonia.
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My Doctor Didnt Tell Me About The Vaccination Is It New
The CDC began recommending adults with asthma get the pneumococcal vaccination in 2008. In 2012, the CDC started recommending adults with certain medical conditions or who take medicines like corticosteroids get the second vaccine. If your doctor hasnt mentioned the vaccine, ask about it as soon as possible.
Who Should Not Get Vaccinated Or Should Wait
- Anyone who has had a lifeâthreatening allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine Prevnar 7 or any vaccine containing diphtheria toxoid: CDC.gov/Vaccines/VPD/Pneumo/Public/Index.html
- Anyone who is moderately or severely ill when the shot is scheduled should wait until feeling better
- For information regarding additional warnings and precautions, please visit: CDC.gov/Vaccines/VPD/Pneumo/HCP/Recommendations.html#Contraindications-Precautions
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Who Is Recommended To Get Prevnar 20
Although adults ages 18 and older are eligible to receive Prevnar 20, its not yet certain how Prevnar 20 will be used alongside Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23.
The CDCs Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices develops recommendations on how to use vaccines. Although Prevnar 20 was approved last week, the CDC and ACIP have yet to incorporate Prevnar 20 into its overall recommendations.
According to Pfizer, ACIP is expected to meet in to discuss updated recommendations on the use of pneumococcal vaccines in adults.
How Much Does It Cost
For adults over age 65 who have Medicare Part B, both pneumococcal vaccines are completely covered at no cost, as long as they are given a year apart.
If you have private insurance or Medicaid, you should check with your individual plan to find out if the vaccines are covered. Usually, routinely recommended vaccinations, like the pneumococcal vaccines, are covered by insurance companies without any copays or coinsurance. This means you can often get the vaccines at little or no cost.
If you need to pay out of pocket for the vaccines, you can review prices for PCV13 and PPSV23.
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What Is Pneumococcal Disease
Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae. This bacteria commonly shortened to pneumococcus is a common cause of pneumonia and other invasive diseases. An invasive disease is when a germ is in a part of the body thats usually germ-free.
Pneumonia is a lung infection that can affect people of all ages. Although pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi, pneumococcus is the most common bacterial cause of pneumonia.
Meningitis a serious infection that surrounds the brain and spinal cord can be caused by a variety of germs, including pneumococcus. Pneumococcus can also cause blood infections , sinus infections, and ear infections.
Pneumococcal vaccines are available to help protect against pneumococcal disease. More on this below.
Who Shouldnt Get Prevnar 20
People who have had a severe allergic reaction in the past to any of the vaccines ingredients including diphtheria protein should not receive Prevnar 20. People who are 17 years or younger also shouldnt receive this vaccine.
At this time, the FDA didnt place any other restrictions on who can receive Prevnar 20. If youre unsure if you should receive this vaccine, your healthcare provider can give you more information.
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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
When Is The Pneumonia Vaccine Given
The pneumonia vaccine is not the same as the flu vaccine, as it doesnt need to be given at a certain time of year. Rather, it can be given at any time, as long as its safe for you to have it.
However, if youre in a high-risk group for pneumonia, you should get the vaccine as soon as possible to make sure youre protected.
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Problems That Could Happen After Getting Any Injected Vaccine
- People sometimes faint after a medical procedure, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting and injuries caused by a fall. Tell your doctor if you or your child:
- Feel dizzy
- Have vision changes
- Have ringing in the ears
What You Should Know About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs that typically stems from several kinds of germs, most often bacteria and viruses.
Symptoms can develop gradually or suddenly. They include:
- Chest pain.
- Loss of appetite.
Early detection is often challenging because many people with these symptoms assume they have a cold or the flu.
Its important to also note that the vaccine helps protect against some but not all bacterial pneumonia.
There are dozens of different types of bacterial pneumonia, says Dr. Suri. The vaccine will certainly reduce your risk of the most common bacterial pneumonia.
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How Many Doses Of The Pneumococcal Vaccine Do I Need
Most adults only need the vaccine once. But your doctor may recommend you get another shot if its been a while since you have the vaccine or for other reasons. Ask your doctor how often you need the shot.
You do not have to get the pneumococcal vaccine every year, like the flu shot. You may only need to get it once and a booster shot a few years later. Find out what your doctor recommends.
Side Effects Of Pneumococcal Vaccine
Like other vaccines, there are certain side effects associated with PCV13 and PPSV23 vaccines. You do not usually experience life-threatening complications though. Some people may have problems such as redness, swelling, and soreness at the site of the shot. This should resolve in a few days.
About 1% of people experience other side effects after getting the shot, and the list includes muscle aches, fever, and severe swelling. A severe allergic reaction may occur if you are allergic to anything in the vaccines. The most common signs of a severe allergic reaction are dizziness, breathing difficulty, behavior changes, hives, high fever, hoarse voice, rapid heartbeat, pale skin, and weakness. Seek immediate medical assistance if you experience these symptoms.
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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.
When To Avoid Pneumococcal Vaccination
The pneumococcal vaccine is quite effective but there are situations when you should avoid it. For instance:
- Fever at the Appointment: Children should not get the pneumonia shot when they have a fever. If your children feel unwell, consult the doctor before taking the vaccine.
- Vaccine Allergy: It is important to avoid the vaccine if you are allergic to any ingredients in the vaccine because it can lead to an anaphylactic reaction that can cause serious complications. You can have it if you have had it in the past and only developed a mild reaction, such as a rash.
- Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: You can get the pneumococcal vaccine when you are pregnant or breastfeeding your baby. But it is best to be on the safe side and get it after you have delivered the baby.
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Can You Prevent Pneumococcal Disease
The best way you can avoid getting pneumococcal disease is to get a vaccine. People at risk should get the shot, such as:
- Children younger than 2 years old
- Adults 65 and older
- Adults with weak immune systems
- Adults who smoke
- Anyone with a chronic disease, such as asthma or other lung diseases
The pneumococcal vaccine is safe and effective.1 There are two types available. Adults with certain medical conditions may need both shots. This includes adults with asthma who take corticosteroids. Medicare and most insurance companies pay for the shot. Talk to your doctor about which one is right for you.
If you have had a pneumococcal infection in the past, it will not keep you from getting it again. You still need the shot.
How Does It Work
Prevnar 20 is a conjugate vaccine. This means that it contains pieces of sugar-like substances called polysaccharides that typically coat the bacteria but also hide it from our immune system. The vaccine uses only a certain portion of the bacteria not the bacteria itself so its unable to cause an infection.
This conjugate vaccine uses 20 slightly different polysaccharides that are specific to the 20 serotypes and attaches them to proteins that our immune systems can recognize. If the bacteria enters the body after the vaccination is administered, the immune system can recognize the polysaccharide molecule and release antibodies to fight the bacteria before it causes an infection.
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About Author: Ken Harris
Ken Harris is the proudest father and a writing coordinator for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare.He has a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked as a daily newspaper reporter for four years before leaving the field and eventually finding his way to OSF HealthCare.In his free time, Ken likes reading, fly fishing, hanging out with his dog and generally pestering his lovely, patient wife.
Age Recommendations And Dosing
Prevnar 13 is approved for use in children 6 weeks and older, and the CDC recommends it for children younger than 2 years old and people 2 years or older with certain medical conditions. Its given into the muscle, and its a 4-dose series for children between 2 and 15 months of age. For children who dont receive the vaccine at this time, a catch-up schedule is available.
Prevnar 20 is currently approved for use in adults at least 18 years old, but official CDC recommendations havent been established yet. Its given as a single-dose injection into the muscle.
Pneumovax 23 is approved for use in children 2 years and older at higher risk of infection and adults at least 50 years old. However, the CDC recommends it for all adults 65 years or older, people 2 through 64 years with certain medical conditions, and adults 19 through 64 years who smoke cigarettes. Its a single-dose injection given into the muscle or skin, but additional doses may be recommended for some people.
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