Pneumococcal Vaccine : Vaccine for Pneumonia

By | June 12, 2013
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Pneumococaal vaccine is used to prevent disease caused by Streptococcus Pneumoniae, which includes disease of blood (septicemia) brain (meningitis) and Lungs (Pneumonia). Pneumococcal vaccines are generally of two types:

1- Pneumococcal Polysaccahride Vaccine 23 (PPSV 23): Made from 23 strains of bacteria

2- Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine 13 (PCV 13): Used in children and recently approved by FDA to be used in adults aged 50 and above.

PPSV 23 is usually given to age groups between 19 and 64 years old with medical conditions or risk factors like:

Lung disease
Cardiac disease
Kidney Disease
Cigarette smoker
Immunocompromised patient
HIV positive
Any medical condition that weakens immune system

Booster shot is given after 5 years

All patients older than 65 years without any contraindication to the vaccine or if its more than 5 years since they received there last dose. Booster dose is given after 5 years

PCV13 is recommended for adults more than 19 years old with medical condition like asplenia (non functional spleen) splenectomy (spleen has been removed), Sickle cell anemia, CSF leaks or any type of implants in ear, especially cochlear implants.

If doctor recommends both vaccine, usually PCV 13 is given first followed by PPSV23 after two months. If the patient has already taken PPSV 23 shot and needs PCV 13 there should be a gap of at least one year

Contraindications for the Pneumococcal Vaccine:

Life threatening allergy to the vaccine
Allergic reaction to any of the components of the vaccine
Moderately or severely Ill : Might have to wait until you recover. Pneumococcal Vaccine can be given if you have mild fever or cold


Pregnant women should get vaccinated only if they need it. There is no data that shows that the vaccine is safe in pregnancy but mother who received shots of pneumococcal vaccine early in pregnancy not knowing that they were pregnant did not caused any harm to the baby

Side Effects of Pneumococcal Vaccine

1-Mild redness and swelling at the place where shot was given

2-Mild Fever, Marked swelling and redness at the site of vaccination, body ache and weakness (Only in 1% of cases)

3-Allergic reaction to Pneumococcal Vaccine: This could be life threatening and you should immediately seek medical attention as soon as you notice any of the following signs and symptoms of allergic reaction:

Breathing difficulty
High fever
Generalized skin rash and redness
Hoarseness of voice
Dizziness, weakness
Increased heart beat.

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