When Should You Schedule Your Vaccines
Older adults should get their flu shots by the end of October or ideally even sooner, particularly in light of the expected increase in demand for the 202021 winter season caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, given the concerns surrounding the pandemic, older adults should make sure they are up to date on all their vaccinations and any booster shots by the end of October, before winter sets in, Privor-Dumm says.
Still, its important to stagger your vaccinations, as getting them all done at one time could lead to complications. Talk to your doctor about setting up a vaccination schedule that works for you.
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Who Should Have The Pneumococcal Vaccine
Anyone can get a pneumococcal infection. But some people are at higher risk of serious illness, so it’s recommended they’re given the pneumococcal vaccination on the NHS.
- adults aged 65 or over
- children and adults with certain long-term health conditions, such as a serious heart or kidney condition
Babies are offered 2 doses of pneumococcal vaccine, at 12 weeks and at 1 year of age.
People aged 65 and over only need a single pneumococcal vaccination. This vaccine is not given annually like the flu jab.
If you have a long-term health condition you may only need a single, one-off pneumococcal vaccination, or a vaccination every 5 years, depending on your underlying health problem.
How Long Does A Pneumonia Shot Last
- Younger than 2 years old: four shots
- 65 years old or older: two shots, which will last you the rest of your life
- Between 2 and 64 years old: between one and three shots if you have certain immune system disorders or if youre a smoker
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How Arthritis Medications May Impact The Effectiveness Of The Pneumonia Vaccine
Pneumococcal vaccines are inactivated and generally considered safe for people with inflammatory arthritis who are on immunosuppressive medications, says Dr. Lieber.
A study published in the journal Rheumatology found that conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs medications such as methotrexate that are taken to reduce disease activity can blunt the effects of both the PCV13 and PCV23 vaccines.
In other words, people who are taking these medications who get both vaccines may not have as much protection as those who are not taking immunosuppressing drugs.
People with inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis have been shown to be able to develop protective antibodies after pneumococcal vaccination, says Dr. Lieber. However, since some immunosuppressive medications may be associated with dampened immune response to vaccines, your doctor may consider the timing of pneumococcal vaccination relative to your immunosuppressive regimen to maximize immune response.
If possible, the ideal time to get vaccinated is before starting an immunosuppressant medication. If youre already on one and have not been received the pneumococcal vaccines, youll need to weigh the decision of whether to temporarily hold your medication with your rheumatologist.
As with the flu shot, you wont get protection from the pneumonia vaccine for at least a few weeks after you receive it. And its still possible to get pneumonia after receiving the vaccine.
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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How Often Should I Be Vaccinated
There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines available for adults: a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine and a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine . Adults with kidney disease, kidney failure, or a kidney transplant need to receive both vaccines.
Most healthy adults only need to be vaccinated one time, but some people at high risk, including people with kidney disease, dialysis-treated patients, and people with kidney transplants, need to receive two pneumococcal vaccines initially followed by revaccination in five years. Ask your doctor about your specific circumstances.
How Does The Pneumonia Vaccine Work
There are currently two vaccines administered in the United States:
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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.
Types Of Pneumonia Vaccine
The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine also known as Prevenar 13 offers protection against 13 strains of pneumococcal bacteria. This type is given to young children as part of their routine NHS vaccinations. Its also available for adults under 65 through our vaccination service.
The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine also known as Pneumovax 23 offers protection against 23 strains of pneumococcal bacteria. This type is given to adults over 65 and anyone with a very high risk of pneumonia.
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How Often Should I Get Pneumonia Vaccine
If you are over 65 but are overall healthy, you should get a one-time vaccination with the pneumonia shot. You do not require a booster shot in this case, but some doctors recommend getting a second shot 5-10 years after the first one. In case you smoke, have chronic lung disease, or have impaired immunity, you should get your first pneumonia shot whenever you want. The same holds true for anyone who has a dysfunctional spleen.
The frequency of pneumonia vaccine depends on your age and overall health. However, it is usually enough to get the pneumonia shot once or twice during adulthood to protect yourself from pneumococcal disease. It is different from flu shots that you need to get every year. The reason is pneumonia virus does not change constantly as in the case of the influenza virus. Because the influenza virus mutates constantly, the vaccine that may have worked last year may no longer be effective in the next year.
What Are The Side Effects Of The Pneumonia Vaccines
PCV13 and PPSV23 can both cause mild side effects. Both pneumococcal vaccines are given in the arm and are injected into muscle. Children and adults may experience arm soreness, swelling, or redness where the shot was injected. Other side effects that may occur in adults include:
PCV13 should not be given to children at the same time as the annual flu shot, because of an increased risk of . These seizures are caused by a high fever and occur in up to 5% of children under 5. They can be scary, but dont cause any long-term health problems.
The good news is that the side effects will resolve on their own within a few days.
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The Different Types Of Pneumococcal Vaccine
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.
What Side Effects Should I Look Out For
Side effects vary from vaccine to vaccine, according to Privor-Dumm.
According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services website Vaccine.org, common issues include:
- Soreness at the injection site
- A low-grade fever
- Muscle aches
In very rare cases, you may be allergic to the ingredients in a vaccine or have another severe reaction. If you feel sick in any way after receiving a shot, call your doctor, Privor-Dumm says.
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What Are The Pneumonia Vaccines
There are two FDA-approved vaccines that protect against pneumonia:
13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, or PCV13
23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, or PPSV23
These immunizations are called pneumonia vaccines because they prevent pneumonia, which is an infection in the lungs. They are also known as pneumococcal vaccines because they protect against a bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus. Although there are many viruses, bacteria, and fungi that cause pneumonia, pneumococcus is the most common cause. Pneumococcus can also cause infections in other parts of the body.
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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When To Get The Vaccine
Thereâs no such thing as pneumonia season, like flu season. If you and your doctor decide that you need to have a pneumonia vaccine, you can get it done at any time of the year. If itâs flu season, you can even get a pneumonia vaccine at the same time that you get a flu vaccine, as long as you receive each shot in a different arm.
What Does The Pneumonia Vaccine Do
Pneumonia is a serious condition that attacks the lungs, causing coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing. It often requires hospitalisation, and can be life-threatening especially for the elderly or for people with weakened immune systems.
Pneumonia can be caused by viruses and fungi, but its usually caused by a bacterial infection. This is why both types of the pneumonia vaccine work by generating antibodies to kill pneumococcal bacteria. Once youve had the vaccine, your body will be able to use these antibodies to quickly fight off the bacteria strains that cause pneumonia.
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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.
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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Effectiveness Of The Pneumonia Vaccine
These two vaccines work together to cover the most invasive serotypes responsible for severe pneumonia, says Dr. Owensby, adding that Streptococcus pneumoniae has more than 90 serotypes, which can all cause disease.
PCV13 is recommended to be given first because of the immune response to the vaccine when given in this sequence, he explains. People who received PPSV23 as the initial dose had lower antibody responses after subsequent administration of PCV13 than those who had received PCV13 as the initial dose followed by a dose of PPSV23.
In other words, your immune system responds better when you get PCV13 first, followed by PPSV23.
While recent studies have found lower rates of the vaccines efficacy in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases taking disease-modifying medications, experts still agree that getting your pneumonia vaccine is a must.
All in all, it does reduce the risk of having complications, says Vinicius Domingues, MD, a rheumatologist in Daytona Beach, Florida. Pneumonia can be deadly.
How Do The Pneumonia Vaccines Work
Like all vaccines, pneumococcal vaccines work by showing the immune system a version of the microbe, or a part of it, that is responsible for the infection. The pneumococcal vaccine contains part of the pneumococcus bacterias outer shell, made of molecules called polysaccharides. The immune system learns to recognize it, attack it, and defend the body against it, should it ever come into contact with the real bacteria.
The body does this by making antibodies against the shell of the pneumococcus bacteria. These antibodies stay in your bloodstream as part of your immune system. If you are exposed to pneumococci in the future, the antibodies recognize the bacterias shell and launch a targeted defense.
There are strains of pneumococcus, so the vaccines are made up of molecules from many of those strains.
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Can The Shots Cause Pneumonia Or Make You Sick
No. The pneumonia vaccines dont contain live bacteria, so they cant cause an infection. They wont cause pneumonia or other pneumococcal diseases. If you dont feel well after your vaccine, you should discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider to find out whether they are related to the vaccine or caused by another illness.
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.
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Pneumococcal Vaccines Can Provide Important Protection For People Who Are Immunocompromised Because Of Inflammatory Conditions
As you make plans to get the flu shot this season, you should also talk to your doctor about whether you need another vaccine that protects against common respiratory infection: the pneumococcal vaccination.
While you may think of this as a vaccine for those ages 65 and older, thats too late to wait if you have a form of inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis , lupus, psoriatic arthritis , or axial spondyloarthritis .
Living with an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis makes you vulnerable to serious infection and increases your risk of pneumonia, says Justin Owensby, PharmD, PhD, a research pharmacist in the division of clinical immunology and rheumology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham . It is especially important to get vaccinated against infectious diseases. Vaccines strengthen your immune response and protect your health and the health of those around you.
Unfortunately, many people with inflammatory arthritis dont get the pneumonia vaccine as part of their routine care. According to a recent study of rheumatoid arthritis patients, for example, a mere 10 percent of people treated in rural areas met the recommendation from theAmerican College of Rheumatology and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for getting the pneumococcal vaccine.
Heres more information about how and when to get your pneumonia vaccine safely this year.