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The ACIP develops vaccine recommendations for the CDC . More information from the CDC about pneumococcal vaccinations, including vaccine schedules, can be found here. CDC.gov is an informative and reputable site for vaccine information.
Two Types Of Pneumonia Vaccine
There are two different types of pneumococcal vaccine:
- pneumococcal conjugate vaccine this is given to all children under two years old as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme. It’s known by the brand name Prevenar 13.
- pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine this is given to people aged 65 and over, and to people at high risk due to long term health conditions
More than 90 different strains of the pneumococcal bacterium have been identified, though only between eight and 10 of them cause the most serious infections.
The childhood vaccine protects against 13 strains of the pneumococcal bacterium, while the adult vaccine protects against 23 strains.
The pneumococcal vaccine is thought to be around 50 to 70% effective at preventing pneumococcal disease.
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Pcv And Ppsv Vaccines
Kids may have redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given. A child also might have a fever after getting the shot. There is a very small chance of an allergic reaction with any vaccine.
The pneumococcal vaccines contain only a small piece of the germ and so cannot cause pneumococcal disease.
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What You Need To Know About Pneumonia And Flu Shots
This article was first published in The Montreal Gazette.
Recently, Oprah got pneumonia. Then she went on Ellen to recommend that everyone get their flu and pneumonia shots. Given that only 42 per cent of Canadians over the age of 65 got the pneumonia vaccine in 2016, maybe Oprah can get us over the 80 per cent target.
Sadly, Oprah has not always been a strong advocate for science. She gave a platform to Jenny McCarthy when she started claiming that vaccines caused her sons autism, and she also introduced the world to Dr. Oz.
But as Oprah explained to Ellen, pneumonia is no joke. Around 1.5 million people are hospitalized with pneumonia every year. Around 100,000 die in hospital and a third of people hospitalized with pneumonia die within the year.
Older patients are at greater risk and so are those with pre-existing lung disease. Smoking is also a risk factor for pneumonia, so if you need an extra incentive to stop smoking, this is it. But the main way to prevent pneumonia is with vaccines.
The problem with the pneumonia vaccine is not one of efficacy. A Cochrane meta-analysis of 18 randomized trials found that the pneumonia vaccine led to a substantial reduction in infections. The problem is which pneumonia vaccine to give people.
And if you wont listen to me, at least listen to Oprah.
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What Are The Most Common Side Effects Of Pneumovax 23 And Prevnar 13
Side effects with pneumococcal vaccines are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days.
Common side effects of Prevnar 13 include:
Injection site pain
Common side effects of Pneumovax 23 include:
Injection site pain
Be sure to talk with your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time.
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Do I Need Both Pcv13 And Ppsv23
Yes, receiving one dose of each vaccine is important to lower the risk of pneumonia. However, the CDC recommends against getting PCV13 and PPSV23 at exactly the same time. If you do need both vaccines, the CDC recommends getting PCV13 first, followed by a shot of PPSV23 at another visit. Ask your healthcare professional when you should come back for the second vaccine.
What If It Is Not Clear What A Person’s Vaccination History Is
When indicated, vaccines should be administered to patients with unknown vaccination status. All residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities should have their vaccination status assessed and documented.
How long must a person wait to receive other vaccinations?
Inactivated influenza vaccine and tetanusvaccines may be given at the same time as or at any time before or after a dose of pneumococcus vaccine. There are no requirements to wait between the doses of these or any other inactivated vaccines.
Vaccination of children recommended
In July 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC jointly recommended childhood pneumococcal immunization, since pneumococcal infections are the most common invasive bacterial infections in children in the United States.
“The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, PCV13 or Prevnar 13, is currently recommended for all children younger than 5 years of age, all adults 65 years or older, and persons 6 through 64 years of age with certain medical conditions,” according to the 2014 AAP/CDC guidelines. “Pneumovax is a 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine that is currently recommended for use in all adults 65 years of age or older and for persons who are 2 years and older and at high risk for pneumococcal disease . PPSV23 is also recommended for use in adults 19 through 64 years of age who smoke cigarettes or who have asthma.”
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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.
Key Points About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both of the lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, and theyre grouped by the cause. The main types of pneumonia are bacterial, viral, and mycoplasma pneumonia.
A cough that produces green, yellow, or bloody mucus is the most common symptom of pneumonia. Other symptoms include fever, shaking chills, shortness of breath, low energy, and extreme tiredness.
Pneumonia can often be diagnosed with a thorough history and physical exam. Tests used to look at the lungs, blood tests, and tests done on the sputum you cough up may also be used.
Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have. Antibiotics are used for bacterial pneumonia. It may also speed recovery from mycoplasma pneumonia and some special cases. Most viral pneumonias dont have a specific treatment and just get better on their own. Other treatment may include a healthy diet, more fluids, rest, oxygen therapy, and medicine for pain, cough, and fever control.
Most people with pneumonia respond well to treatment, but pneumonia can cause serious lung and infection problems. It can even be deadly.
Recommended Reading: Tell If You Have Pneumonia
What To Know About The Pneumococcal Vaccine
Who needs it: The CDC recommends one pneumococcal vaccine for adults 19 to 64 with certain risk factors . If you work around chronically ill people say, in a hospital or nursing home you should get the vaccine, even if you’re healthy. People 65 and older can discuss with their health care provider whether they should get PCV13 if they haven’t previously received a dose. A dose of PPSV23 is recommended for those 65 and older, regardless of previous inoculations with pneumococcal vaccines.
How often: Space immunizations out. You should receive a dose of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine , then, a year later, a dose of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine . People with any of the risk factors should get one dose of PCV13 and PPSV23 before age 65, separated by eight weeks.
Why you need it: Pneumococcal disease, which can cause pneumonia, kills around 3,000 people a year. Young children and those over 65 have the highest incidence of serious illness, and older adults are more likely to die from it.
Editors note: This article was published on Oct. 26, 2020. It was updated in September 2021 with new information.
Also of Interest
Who Should Get Pneumococcal Vaccines
CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for all children younger than 2 years old and all adults 65 years or older. In certain situations, older children and other adults should also get pneumococcal vaccines. Below is more information about who should and should not get each type of pneumococcal vaccine.
Talk to your or your childs doctor about what is best for your specific situation.
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What Is A Pneumococcal Vaccine
A pneumococcal vaccine is an injection that can prevent pneumococcal disease. A pneumococcal disease is any illness that is caused by pneumococcal bacteria, including pneumonia. In fact, the most common cause of pneumonia is pneumococcal bacteria. This type of bacteria can also cause ear infections, sinus infections, and meningitis.
Adults age 65 or older are amongst the highest risk groups for getting pneumococcal disease.
To prevent pneumococcal disease, there are two types of pneumococcal vaccines: the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine and the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine .
How Does The Pneumonia Vaccine Work
There are currently two vaccines administered in the United States:
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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.
This Infectious Disease Can Pose A Serious Health Risk For Those Age 65 And Older But Two Vaccines Can Offer Sound Protection
One of the leading health dangers for older adults is pneumonia. It is the most common cause of hospital admissions after childbirth. In fact, adults age 65 and older have a higher risk of death from pneumonia hospitalization than any other reason.
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs by bacteria, viruses, or other microbes. Most cases are caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumonia, Chlamydia pneumoniae, Chlamydia psittaci, and Legionella pneumophila. A similar inflammation of the lung, called pneumonitis, can be caused by an inhaled chemical and is more common in people who have had strokes and have difficulty swallowing. A physical exam, chest x-ray, and blood test can confirm a diagnosis.
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How Is Pneumonia Treated
Treatment depends on the type of pneumonia you have. Most of the time, pneumonia is treated at home, but severe cases may be treated in the hospital. Antibiotics are used for bacterial pneumonia. Antibiotics may also speed recovery from mycoplasma pneumonia and some special cases. Most viral pneumonias dont have specific treatment. They usually get better on their own.
Other treatment may include eating well, increasing fluid intake, getting rest, oxygen therapy, pain medicine, fever control, and maybe cough-relief medicine if cough is severe.
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.
Read Also: Difference Between Viral And Bacterial Pneumonia
Other Types Of Pneumococcal Disease
Pneumonia vaccines protect against pneumococcal infections in other parts of the body. These infections include:
What is it: An infection in the middle part of the ear.
Symptoms: Fever, ear pain, and decreased hearing
Who gets it: In the U.S., over 5 million children get it each year. Pneumococcus is a common cause of ear infections. It is found in up to 30% of samples of middle ear fluid.
What is it: A sinus infection, which is often first caused by a virus. Later, a bacterial infection can set in, causing worsening or ongoing symptoms.
Symptoms: Pain and pressure around the eyes and nose, fever, drainage, and congestion
Who gets it: Sinus infections are more common in adults than in children. Pneumococcus is a common cause and may contribute to up to 35% of sinus infections.
What is it: An infection of the leptomeninges, or the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can be life-threatening, so getting immediate treatment is important.
Symptoms: Fever, confusion, headache, and neck stiffness
Who gets it: Pneumococcal meningitis usually occurs in very young children and older adults. In the U.S., pneumococcus is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in children under age 5.
These infections can also be caused by other bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Pneumococcus, the pneumococcal vaccines, is only one cause.
How Long Does A Pneumonia Shot Last
Streptococcus pneumoniaevaccinepneumoniaStreptococcus pneumoniae
- 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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Conditions Treated By Prevnar 13 And Pneumovax 23
Prevnar 13 is indicated for:
Children six weeks through five years old :
- Active immunization to prevent invasive disease caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 6B, 7F, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, 19F and 23F
- Active immunization to prevent otitis media caused by S. pneumoniae serotypes 4, 6B, 9V, 14, 18C, 19F, and 23F
Children 6 to 17 years old :
- Active immunization to prevent invasive disease caused by S. pneumoniae serotypes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 6B, 7F, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, 19F and 23F
Adults 18 years and older:
- Active immunization to prevent pneumonia and invasive disease caused by S. pneumoniae serotypes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 6B, 7F, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, 19F and 23F
Pneumovax 23 is indicated for active immunization for the prevention of invasive pneumococcal disease that is caused by the 23 serotypes contained in the vaccine . It is approved for use in patients ages 50 years or older, and patients 2 years old who are at increased risk for pneumococcal disease.
How Often Is The Pneumococcal Vaccine Given
Babies receive the pneumococcal vaccine as three separate injections, at 2 months, 4 months and 12-13 months.
People over-65 only need a single pneumococcal vaccination which will protect for life. It is not given annually like the flu jab.
People with a long term health condition may need just a single one-off pneumococcal vaccination or five-yearly vaccination depending on their underlying health problem.
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Persons With Chronic Diseases
Refer to Immunization of Persons with Chronic Diseases in Part 3 for additional information about vaccination of people with chronic diseases.
Asplenia or hyposplenia
Hyposplenic or asplenic individuals should receive Pneu-C-13 vaccine and Pneu-P-23 vaccine, followed by a booster dose of Pneu-P-23 vaccine. Refer to Table 3, Table 4 and Booster doses and re-immunization for additional information.
Chronic kidney disease and patients on dialysis
Individuals with chronic kidney disease should receive age appropriate pneumococcal vaccines. Children less than 18 years of age with chronic kidney failure or nephrotic syndrome, should receive Pneu-C-13 vaccine and Pneu-P-23 vaccine. Adults with chronic kidney failure should receive Pneu-P-23 vaccine. Adults with nephrotic syndrome should receive Pneu-C-13 and Pneu-P-23 vaccine. Due to the decreased immunogenicity and efficacy of Pneu-P-23 vaccine in children and adults with chronic kidney failure, 1 booster dose of Pneu-P-23 vaccine is recommended. Refer to Table 3, Table 4 and Booster doses and re-immunization for additional information.
Chronic lung disease, including asthma
Chronic heart disease
Chronic liver disease
Endocrine and metabolic diseases
Non-malignant hematologic disorders