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What is the pneumococcal vaccine and who needs it?

Posted by Be Well

What is the pneumococcal vaccine and who needs it?
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Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by a type of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae. When these bacteria invade the lungs, they cause the most common kind of bacterial pneumonia and can then invade the bloodstream (bacteremia) and/or the tissues and fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). Another common complication is infection of the middle ear (otitis media).

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV)

If you are over the age of 65 you can now have the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) (known as the 'pneumoshot') to protect you against serious forms of pneumococcal infection. You won't need it each year and for most it's a one-off vaccination. If you haven't already been sent an appointment and would like more information, contact your local doctor.

You can also have this vaccination if:

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)

The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) is recommended for all children up to 5 years of age who are at an increased risk of getting pneumococcal disease because they have certain serious medical conditions, including:

  • serious breathing problems, such as severe asthma,
  • serious heart conditions,
  • severe kidney disease,
  • long term liver disease,
  • diabetes that needs medication, or
  • a suppressed immune system due to, for example, long-term steroid use, treatment for cancer, and/or problems with the spleen.

For more information on these infections, see the following articles:

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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