Pneumococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection which is spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing, or close contact. Pneumococcal infection is the most common cause of community-acquired pneumonia (infection of the lungs) worldwide. Pneumococcal bacteria can also cause ear and sinus infections, and life threatening infections including meningitis (infection of the lining that covers the brain), and septicemia (infection of the blood). Anyone can get pneumococcal disease but children <2 years of age, adults 65 years of age and older, and people with certain medical conditions are at higher risk.
Symptoms of pneumonia can include a productive cough (mucus may be rusty or green or blood tinged), fever, increased breathing and heart rate, chest pain, and tiredness.
How can I prevent pnemococcal disease?
There are 2 pneumococcal vaccines that can prevent several types of pneumococcal infections.
Pneumococcal Conjugate (PCV13) vaccine (Prevnar13) protects against 13 strains of pneumococcal bacteria.
Pneumococcal Polysaccharide (PPV23) vaccine (Pneumovax23) protects against 23 strains of pneumococcal bacteria.
The Prevnar13 vaccine has been shown to be more immunogenic (produces a stronger immune response) than the Pneumovax23 vaccine.
Who should receive the pneumococcal vaccine?
- Infants and children (given as part of the routine vaccine schedule)
- People at high risk of pneumococcal disease due to underlying medical conditions
- Residents of long-term care facilities
- Adults who are at high risk of pneumococcal disease due to lifestyle factors including smoking, alcoholism, and homelessness.
- Adults 65 years of age and older
Pneumococcal vaccine schedules for adults:
Prevnar13 is given as a single dose. There is no recommendation for a booster.
Pneumovax23 is given as a single dose. A once-only booster should be offered after 5 years to people with certain high-risk medical conditions.
Unimmunized individuals should receive Prevnar13 first followed by Pneumovax23 at least 8 weeks later. If Pneumovax23 is given first then Prevenar13 should be given at least one year later.
Call us at 604-251-1975 to arrange an appointment or to receive further information about the pneumococcal vaccines.
Visit our Kitsilano clinic for a pre-travel consultation and vaccinations to protect your health.
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