What Is The Pneumonia Vaccine
The pneumonia vaccine is an injection that prevents you from contracting pneumococcal disease. There are two pneumococcal vaccines licensed by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States:
The Center for Disease Control recommends the PCV13 vaccine for:
- All children younger than 2 years old
- People 2 years or older with certain medical conditions
The CDC recommends PPSV23 for:
- All adults 65 years or older
- People 2 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions
- Smokers 19 through 64 years old
Adults At High Risk Of Ipd
Adults with immunocompromising conditions resulting in high risk of IPD, except HSCT, should receive 1 dose of Pneu-C-13 vaccine followed at least 8 weeks later by 1 dose of Pneu-P-23 vaccine, if not previously received. The dose of Pneu-C-13 vaccine should be administered at least 1 year after any previous dose of Pneu-P-23 vaccine. Refer to Immunocompromised persons for information about immunization of HSCT recipients.
Immunocompetent adults with conditions or lifestyle factors resulting in high risk of IPD should receive 1 dose of Pneu-P-23 vaccine, if not previously received. One dose of Pneu-P-23 vaccine is also recommended for all adults who are residents of long-term care facilities and should be considered for individuals who use illicit drugs.
Some experts also suggest a dose of Pneu-C-13 vaccine, followed by Pneu-P-23 vaccine, for immunocompetent adults with conditions resulting in high risk of IPD as this may theoretically improve antibody response and immunologic memory. However, Pneu-P-23 vaccine is the vaccine of choice for these individuals, and if only one vaccine can be provided, it should be Pneu-P-23 vaccine, because of the greater number of serotypes included in the vaccine.
Adults at highest risk of IPD should also receive 1 booster dose of Pneu-P-23 vaccine refer to Booster doses and re-immunization.
Table 4 – provides recommended schedules for adult immunization with pneumococcal vaccines.
Common And Local Adverse Events
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
Studies of Pneu-C-13 vaccine indicated that irritability decreased appetite increased or decreased sleep and pain, swelling and redness at the injection site after the toddler dose and in older children, are common side effects. Low grade fever occurred in 20% to 30% or more of vaccine recipients. In adults over 50 years of age, the most commonly reported side effects included pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache and new onset of myalgia, with fever above 38Â°C occurring in approximately 3% of vaccine recipients.
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine
Reactions to Pneu-P-23 vaccine are usually mild. Soreness, redness and swelling at the injection site occur in 30% to 60% of vaccine recipients and more commonly follow SC administration than IM administration. Occasionally, low grade fever may occur. Re-immunization of healthy adults less than 2 years after the initial dose is associated with increased injection site and systemic reactions. Studies have suggested that re-vaccination after an interval of at least 4 years is not associated with an increased incidence of adverse side effects. However, severe injection site reactions, including reports of injection site cellulitis and peripheral edema in the injected extremity, have been documented rarely with Pneu-P-23 vaccine in post-marketing surveillance, even with the first dose. Multiple re-vaccinations are not recommended refer to Booster doses and re-immunization.
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I Got A Pneumonia Shot And Then The Pain Began
Last December during a routine physical exam, I received a vaccination to protect against several strains of pneumonia. It hurt, more so than the usual injection. In the days that followed, the pain in my left shoulder worsened. Initially, I dismissed it as typical post-shot soreness. But it didnt go away.
All these months later, it still hurts. My orthopedist says I have subacromial bursitis, which is chronic inflammation and excess fluid buildup in the bursa separating the acromion bone at the top of the shoulder from the rotator cuff.
Im convinced this occurred because the nurse injected the vaccine too high on my arm. I had no symptoms before the shot, and pain has persisted since. The needle probably entered the top third of the deltoid muscle which forms the rounded contours of the shoulder and probably went into the bursa or the rotator cuff, instead of lower down, into the middle part of the muscle, missing the bursa and rotator cuff entirely. I say probably because I wasnt watching. Like many, I avert my eyes at the sight of an approaching needle.
A third of the patients needed surgery, some of them twice.
There is no single way to treat shoulder injuries, regardless of how they occur. Treatments that work for some may not work for others.
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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Booster Doses Of Pneumococcal Vaccine
If you’re at increased risk of a pneumococcal infection, you’ll be given a single dose of the PPV vaccine.
But if your spleen does not work properly or you have a chronic kidney condition, you may need booster doses of PPV every 5 years.
This is because your levels of antibodies against the infection decrease over time.
Your GP surgery will advise you on whether you’ll need a booster dose.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- When should I make an appointment to get each type of pneumococcal vaccine?
- Should I still get the vaccines if Ive recently had pneumonia?
- Should I wait to turn 65 before I get each dose of pneumococcal vaccines?
- If I have a negative reaction to one type of pneumococcal vaccine, am I likely to have that same reaction to the other?
Funding was provided for these pneumococcal resources through an unrestricted grant from Pfizer Independent Grant for Learning and Change .
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How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will listen to your lungs. Tell him or her if you have other health conditions. Give your provider a complete list of all medicines you have taken recently. You may need any of the following:
- Blood tests may show signs of an infection or the bacteria causing your pneumonia. Blood tests can also show how much oxygen is in your blood.
- A chest x-ray may show signs of infection in your lungs.
- Pulse oximetry measures the amount of oxygen in your blood.
- A mucus sample is collected and tested for the germ that is causing your pneumonia. It can help your healthcare provider choose the best medicine to treat the infection.
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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Why Is Pneumonia Dangerous What Are The Possible Complications Of Leaving This Condition Untreated
Pneumonia can usually be treated successfully without leading to complications. However, complications like the ones listed below can develop in some patients, especially those in high-risk groups.
Fluid or pus could get accumulated between the covering of the lungs and the inner lining of the chest wall this is called a pleural effusion . A chest tube may be needed to drain the fluid/pus.
Pus might collect in the lung area infected with pneumonia . Rarely this may require surgery.
Bacteria can spread to the bloodstream and other organs. This is a serious complication since the infection can cause the blood pressure to be dangerously low.
Although most people recover from pneumonia, it can be fatal in some cases. Approximately 5 to 10 percent of patients admitted to a general medical ward, and almost 30 percent of patients with severe infection admitted to an intensive care unit can die.
Path To Improved Health
Pneumococcal vaccines can protect you against getting pneumonia, which is contagious and spreads from close, person-to-person contact. Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs and can lead to many symptoms, including:
- chest pains
- bringing up mucus when you cough
For seniors, pneumonia can be very serious and life-threatening. This is especially true if you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or COPD. Pneumonia can also develop after youve had a case of the flu or a respiratory virus such as COVID-19. It is extremely important to stay current on flu shots each year in addition to your pneumococcal vaccines.
While PPSV23 and PCV13 do not protect against all types of pneumonia, they can make it less likely that you will experience severe and possibly life-threatening complications from the illness.
The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that seniors who have not had either pneumococcal vaccine should get a dose of PCV13 first, and then a dose of PPSV23 6-12 months later. The vaccines cannot be given at the same time. If you have recently had a dose of PPSV23, your doctor will wait at least one year to give you PCV13.
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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 To Know About Mild Side Effects
As with any vaccine, you may experience some mild side effects after receiving the pneumococcal vaccine.
Mild side effects vary depending on which vaccine you receive. The side effects will usually go away within a few days.
Possible side effects of the PCV13 vaccine include:
- redness or discoloration, pain, or swelling at the site of the shot
- sleepiness or drowsiness
- mild fever
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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.
It Prevents Lots Of Serious Infections
Getting vaccinated is very effective at preventing pneumonia, an infection in the lungs that can be life-threatening. It can also protect you from meningitis, bloodstream infections and ear infections. As we age, our immune systems weaken and its harder to fight off infections. Thats why its so important that older adults get this vaccine.
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Medical Conditions Resulting In High Risk Of Ipd
Table 1: Medical Conditions Resulting in High risk of IPD
IPD is more common in the winter and spring in temperate climates.
Spectrum of clinical illness
Although asymptomatic upper respiratory tract colonization is common, infection with S. pneumoniae may result in severe disease. IPD is a severe form of infection that occurs when S. pneumoniae invades normally sterile sites, such as the bloodstream or central nervous system. Bacteremia and meningitis are the most common manifestations of IPD in children 2 years of age and younger. Bacteremic pneumococcal pneumonia is the most common presentation among adults and is a common complication following influenza. The case fatality rate of bacteremic pneumococcal pneumonia is 5% to 7% and is higher among elderly persons. Bacterial spread within the respiratory tract may result in AOM, sinusitis or recurrent bronchitis.
Worldwide, pneumococcal disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. The World Health Organization estimates that almost 500,000 deaths among children aged less than 5 years are attributable to pneumococcal disease each year. In Canada, IPD is most common among the very young and adults over 65 years of age.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Being Vaccinated
The benefits of vaccination generally far outweigh any risks, Privor-Dumm says. Although vaccines do have some side effects, most are mild and temporary.
The bigger con is getting disease, which may lead to further health complications, she adds. For instance, people who are hospitalized with influenza have a greater likelihood of heart attack or stroke following their illness, and the economic consequences of a serious illness can be catastrophic for some. Thats why its best to prevent disease in the first place.
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Where Can I Find These Vaccines
Your doctors office is usually the best place to receive recommended vaccines for you or your child.
PCV13 is part of the routine childhood immunization schedule. Therefore, it is regularly available for children at:
- Pediatric and family practice offices
- Community health clinics
If your doctor does not have pneumococcal vaccines for adults, ask for a referral.
Pneumococcal vaccines may also be available for adults at:
- Health departments
- Other community locations, such as schools and religious centers
Federally funded health centers can also provide services if you do not have a regular source of health care. Locate one near youexternal icon. You can also contact your state health department to learn more about where to get pneumococcal vaccines in your community.
When receiving any vaccine, ask the provider to record the vaccine in the state or local registry, if available. This helps doctors at future encounters know what vaccines you or your child have already received.
Are There Treatments For Covid
Clinical trials are looking into whether some drugs and treatments used for other conditions might treat severe COVID-19 or related pneumonia, including dexamethasone, a corticosteroid.
The FDA has approved the antiviral remdesivir for treatment of patients hospitalized with COVID. The drug was origininally developed to treat the Ebola virus.
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How To Stay Safe
Given that COVID-19 is a respiratory illness just as pneumonia is, it is important to do your best to minimize your risk of contracting COVID-19, which could potentially cause severe respiratory complications.
The same precautions you’ve been taking to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic will, of course, keep you safe from developing pneumonia secondary to COVID-19, too. Be diligent about wearing a well-fitting mask, social distancing, and washing your hands.
A few other tips to keep in mind for recovery from pneumonia are to:
- Control your fever with NSAIDs or acetaminophen .
- Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen secretions and to cough up phlegm.
- Avoid taking cough medicines before talking to your healthcare provider first because coughing is one of the ways your body is working to get rid of the pneumonia infection.
- Drink warm beverages like tea or hot water.
- Use a humidifier, and take steamy baths or showers to help open your airway and ease your breathing.
- Stay away from smoke to allow your lungs to heal themselves. If you are a smoker, this would be a good time to think about quitting.
- Get rest. Stay home and take it easy for a while until you feel better and stronger.
These are all things you can do from the safety and comfort of your own home. Taking care of yourself and seeking medical care as needed can help keep you safe from COVID-19.