What is Pneumococcal Disease?
Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae. It is a major cause of illness and death, particularly amongst the very young, the very old, those who have an absent or non-functioning spleen, or those with weakened immunity. There are over 90 different types of pneumococcal bacteria.
How Can Stakelum’s Pharmacy Help?
Pneumococcal polysaccharide Vaccine (PPV) is licensed for administration by pharmacists. It is an inactivated vaccine meaning they do not contain live organisms AND cannot cause Pneumococcal disease.
THE VACCINE IS FREE FOR PATIENTS WHO ARE:
- over 65 years of age, or in an at risk group. Those with a medical card or GP visit card the vaccine and consultation are free.
- without a medical card or GP visit card the vaccine is free but a consultation fee of €25 is required.
Private patients must pay a fee of just €25 to receive the vaccination.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pneumococcal Disease?
Pneumococcal bacteria can cause localised infections such as middle ear infections, bronchitis or sinusitis.
If pneumococcal bacteria invade the body they cause more serious diseases, such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs), meningitis (inflammation of the lining around the brain), septicaemia (blood poisoning) and osteomyelitis (infection of the bone). These types of infection are referred to as invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD).
Invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) is a very serious disease. It is a major cause of illness and death, particularly amongst the very young, the very old, those who have an absent or non-functioning spleen, or those with weakened immunity. It is a major cause of pneumonia in the community.
Of those who become infected 1 in 4 will develop pneumonia, 1 in 4 will develop meningitis, and 1 in 10 will die.
How Do People Get Pneumococcal Disease?
Bacteria are spread from person to person by coughing, sneezing or close contact. The bacteria can be carried in the nose and throat without doing any harm but sometimes they can invade the lungs and bloodstream causing pneumonia, septicaemia and meningitis.
Everybody is at risk of getting pneumococcal disease but older people and very young children are most at risk from infection. Particularly at risk are people who are already ill, have no spleen or have a weakened immune system.
Which Pneumococcal Vaccines Are Recommended In Ireland?
Over the years Streptococcus pneumoniae has become resistant to many medications making the treatment of pneumococcal infections much more difficult. Prevention of disease through vaccination is now more important than ever.
There are two different pneumococcal vaccines to prevent pneumococcal infections
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) which is given to all babies as part of the routine childhood immunisation schedule. This vaccine protects babies against the 13 most common types of pneumococcal disease. This vaccine is administered by doctors only.
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23) which is for those aged 65 years and older and those over 2 years with long term medical conditions. This vaccine is administered by pharamists.
Who Should Get PPV23 Pneumococcal Vaccine?
Pneumococcal disease is a very serious disease. It is a major cause of illness and death, particularly amongst the very young. Those with the following conditions should be vaccinated with PPV23.
Everybody aged 65 years and over and everybody aged 2 years and over with ;
- Chronic lung, heart, liver, or kidney disease
- Chronic neurological disease
- Children aged over 2 years and under 5 years of age with a history of invasive pneumococcal disease
- Coeliac disease
- Down Syndrome
- Cochlear implants or are about to get cochlear implants
- Immune deficiency because of a disease or treatment, including cancer patients
- HIV infection
- Absent spleen or a non-functioning spleen
- CSF leaks, either congenital or complicating skull fractures or neurosurgery
- Intracranial shunt.
PPV23 vaccination is not recommended for healthy children and adults as they are at low risk of pneumococcal disease
Who Should NOT Get PPV23 Pneumococcal Vaccine?
The PPV23 vaccine is safe for most people. However, you should not get this vaccine if you have had a true severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of PPV23 vaccine or to any part of the vaccine.
If you are unwell, with a fever, vaccination should be delayed until you are better.
This PPV23 vaccine is not recommended for children under two years of age as it does not work well in this age group.
What Are The Potential Side Effects Of The PPV23 Pneumococcal Vaccine?
After getting the vaccine, your child may have discomfort, redness or swelling around the area where the injection was given. They may be irritable and have a fever.
If this happens you can give liquid infant paracetamol or infant ibuprofen. You should also give plenty to drink. Make sure your child is not too warm and that clothes are not rubbing against the injection area.
Children usually recover from these minor side effects within a day or two.
- 1 in 10 people who get the vaccine will have discomfort or swelling where the vaccine was given or will have a fever
- Vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased appetite may occur.
Serious side effects are very rare.
Can You Get The PPV23 Vaccine At The Same Time As The Flu Vaccine?
Yes. PPV Pneumococcal vaccine may be given at the same time as influenza vaccine. Your doctor may safely give the two vaccines when you attend for your influenza vaccine.
The content displayed on this page is true and accurate, per the HSE. For more information, please visit the HSE Pneumococcal Disease page.