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Pneumonia Vaccination

As it is said, ‘prevention is better than cure’. This holds true in the case of pneumonia (pneumococcal) infections. Despite the availability of many pneumonia medications, pneumococcal infections can be fatal at times, and vaccines have been shown to be about 90% effective in preventing as well as reducing the severity of the symptoms. Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) both provide protection against pneumococcal infections.
Streptococcus pneumoniae, bacteria responsible for pneumococcal infections, can result in pneumonia. This infection spreads through person-to-person contact, leading to serious conditions, including blood poisoning (sepsis) and meningitis. In the worst-case scenario, the infection could even lead to permanent brain damage and even death.
A pneumococcal vaccine provides protection against potentially deadly pneumococcal infections. It is also referred to as the pneumonia vaccine or pneumonia injection. The pneumococcal vaccine is for adults as well as children.


Types of pneumonia vaccines available


Pneumococcal vaccines are available in two types.

• Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13)
PCV13 is a vaccine that protects you against multiple strains (around 13 types) of pneumococcal bacteria that cause disease in adults and children. PCV13 is recommended in multiple doses for kids and only one dose for adults. PCV13 is advised for adults above the age of 65 years who have comorbid conditions, including heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes.

• Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPSV23)
This type of pneumococcal vaccine protects against 23 different strains of the bacterium. It is usually prescribed as a single dose. Adults over the age of 65 years are eligible for this type of pneumonia vaccine; so are those between the ages of 2 and 64 years with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease.


Immunisation schedules for PCV and PPSV
All infants receive PCV13 immunisations in a series of four injections: at the age of 2 months, followed by 4 months, 6 months, and 12–15 months.

Your doctor will determine when and how frequently a child will require PCV13. Some children over the age of 2 years may also require a PCV13 vaccination. For instance, if they have a chronic illness (lung disease or a heart condition) or immunocompromised conditions (such as HIV infection and asplenia), or if there has been a missed shot of the vaccination, they will need the vaccine.

PPSV23 immunisations are advised as additional protection against the pneumonia infection in children aged between 2 and 18 months with certain chronic medical conditions, such as a lung, heart, or liver disease.

Possible side effects associated with the vaccines
Pneumonia vaccines are usually harmless, but similar to any other vaccine, this one may cause mild-to-severe side effects rarely. Contact your doctor if the adverse effects persist. The pneumonia vaccine has mostly mild side effects that last up to 24 hours. An individual may experience a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine in rare cases. Following the administration of a vaccine shot, the following symptoms usually develop:
• Redness, pain, or swelling at the injection site
• Fever
• Rashes



Are there any pneumonia vaccinations?

Yes, there are two commonly used types of pneumococcal vaccines available in the market: polysaccharide vaccines and conjugate vaccines.

Do we require doctors’ prescriptions for pneumonia vaccination?

Yes, there are two commonly used types of pneumococcal vaccines available in the market: polysaccharide vaccines and conjugate vaccines.

Do we require doctors’ prescriptions for pneumonia vaccination?

It is best to take the pneumonia vaccine under the supervision of your doctor, as your doctor will determine whether you need the vaccine or a booster dose.

How much does the pneumonia vaccination cost?

The cost of the pneumonia vaccine depends on the type of vaccine and its manufacturer. The Pfizer vaccine, named Prevenar 13, costs about Rs. 3,800 per dose, while the GSK vaccine, called Synflorix, costs approximately Rs. 2,195 per dose. The Serum Institute of India (SII) recently introduced a PCV vaccine that charges around Rs. 750 per dose.

How often should the pneumonia vaccination be administered?

The pneumonia vaccine is particularly recommended if you are in one of the following age groups:
• Children under the age of 2 years: (at 2, 4, and 6 months, and booster shots between 12 and 15 months)
• People over the age of 65 years: two shots that will last the duration of your life.
• Individuals between the ages of 2 and 64 years: 1 to 3 shots if you suffer from certain disorders of the immune system or are a smoker.

Who should take the pneumonia vaccination?

The pneumococcal vaccine protects you against the pneumococcal disease, which is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae. The pneumococcal vaccine can protect you for many years against this infection. The individuals that belong to the following list must get vaccinated for pneumonia:
• Children under the age of 2 years
• People over the age of 65 years
• Individuals between the ages of 2 and 64 years, who have certain disorders of the immune system or are a smoker.

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