The pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine protects against a serious and potentially fatal infection which can cause pneumonia, blood poisoning (sepsis) and meningitis.

Babies up to 2 years old are routinely vaccinated with the Prevenar 13 vaccine to protect them.

There is a different vaccine, Pneumovax 23, for adults (and some children) which covers more strains.

Who should have the Pneumovax 23 vaccine?

  1. All adults over 65 years should have a single dose. It is normally given at the same time as the flu vaccine, but once only, not every year. 
  2. Those at higher risk (see below) may be given the vaccine at any age from 2 years onwards as a single dose. Higher risk includes:
    1. A long-term respiratory disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic bronchitis), smokers
    2. Heart disease
    3. Chronic liver disease such as cirrhosis or alcoholism
    4. Diabetes
    5. Reduced immunity e.g. caused by HIV, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or steroids
    6. A cochlear implant (hearing device)
    7. A history of a leak of cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that surrounds the brain and spine, often following an accident or surgery)
  3. These high risk conditions may need the vaccine given every 5 years:
    1. Chronic kidney disease
    2. If the spleen has been removed, is not working properly or is at risk of not working properly in the future (e.g. Coelic disease).
  4. These conditions usually require a single dose of Prevenar 13 followed by Pneumovax 23 2 months later:
    1. Severely reduced immunity due to conditions such as leukaemia, multiple myeloma, genetic immune disorders and after a bone marrow transplant.

Is it safe?

These vaccines are both inactivated or “killed” and do not contain any live bacteria, and cannot cause the infection they protect against.

Mild side effects of slightly raised temperature, redness or swelling at the site of injection sometimes occur. 

Severe allergic reactions are extremely rare. 

Is it effective?

In adults and older children, it provides 50 to 70% effectiveness at preventing pneumococcal disease.

I am not sure if I had the Pneumovax. What should I do?

It is safe to have the vaccine even if unknowingly you are repeating the dose.

You can book online your Pneumovax 23 vaccine together with the flu vaccine below or call the clinic on 952 81 7425.

Book here

Dr Anthony Crichton-Smith

Categories: Uncategorised,Vaccines
Post by: Atlantic Clinic on 29 Sep 2022