The pneumococcal vaccine offers protection against pneumococcal infections, which can be very dangerous and even fatal in some cases. In some circles, it is also referred to as the pneumonia vaccine. Pneumococcal infection is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae and it can result in a variety of complications, including pneumonia, meningitis, and blood poisoning (sepsis).
Who Should Be Vaccinated Against Pneumococcal Disease?
A pneumococcal infection is something that can happen to anyone. On the other hand, some people have a significantly increased likelihood of suffering from a serious illness; consequently, it is recommended that the pneumococcal vaccination be administered to these individuals by the NHS. These are the following:
- Adults who are at least 65 years old
- Children and adults who have certain chronic health conditions, such as a serious condition affecting their heart or kidneys, are eligible for this programme.
- At the age of 12 weeks and again at the age of one year, infants are given two doses of the pneumococcal vaccine.
The pneumococcal vaccination only needs to be administered once to people aged 65 and older. Unlike the flu shot, this vaccine also isn’t administered on an annual basis. Depending on the underlying health issue that you have, you may only require a single, one-time pneumococcal vaccination if you’ve a long-term health condition, or you may need a vaccination once every 5 years.
The Mechanism Of Action Behind The Pneumococcal Vaccine
Your body will produce antibodies to fight pneumococcal bacteria after receiving either of the two types of pneumococcal vaccine. Antibodies are proteins that are produced by the body in order to fight off disease-causing organisms and toxins by either neutralising or destroying them. They prevent you from getting sick even if you are infected with bacteria that causes the illness.There’s been more than 90 different varieties of pneumococcal bacteria discovered; however, the majority of these strains don’t really result in life-threatening infections. The pneumococcal bacteria can be protected against by the pneumococcal vaccine (PCV) given to children, while the pneumococcal vaccine (PPV) given to adults can protect against 23 strains.
Evaluation Of The Pneumococcal Vaccine’s Effectiveness
The pneumococcal vaccine is extremely effective in protecting children. Pneumococcal disease has significantly decreased since this vaccine was included in the routine vaccination schedule for children in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). It is estimated that the effectiveness of the pneumococcal vaccine, which is administered to older children and adults, ranges somewhere between 50 and 70 percent in preventing pneumococcal disease. Both formulations of the pneumococcal vaccine are considered to be inactivated, also known as “killed,” vaccines because they do not include any living organisms. They cannot be the source of the infections they are meant to prevent.
Pneumococcal Vaccines Have Been Linked To The Following Side Effects
Both the pneumococcal vaccine for children and the pneumococcal vaccine for adults can, on occasion, cause symptoms of side effects that are considered to be relatively mild. These are the following:
- A temperature that is marginally higher
- A crimson mark at the site where injection was administered
- Discomfort in the area where the implant was given, including hardness or swelling
There is a very remote possibility of a severe allergy, but other than that, neither the paediatric nor the adult formulation of the vaccine has been shown to cause any serious adverse effects in clinical trials (anaphylaxis).