What is pneumococcal disease?

Pneumococcal disease is a very serious disease caused by a bacterial infection. It is a major cause of illness and death, particularly amongst the very young, the very old, those with long-term medical conditions and those with no spleen or impaired immunity.

It is a major cause of pneumonia in the community.

What is it

How does the vaccine work?

The vaccination is given as an injection in the arm and can be given at the same time as the flu vaccine.

This vaccine protects against 23 types of pneumococcal disease including those most likely to cause severe disease and most people only need to receive the vaccine once.

If you are aged under 65 years a booster vaccination (usually given 5 years after the first) may be recommended if you have a condition where your antibody levels are likely to decline rapidly e.g. no spleen, or a condition that weakens your immune system.

Why is the pneumococcal vaccine important?

The bacteria present in the disease has become resistant to many medications in recent years, therefore prevention through the vaccination is more important than ever.

Many people are at risk and it is recommended that they receive the vaccination, this includes everybody aged 65 and over plus those with the following conditions:

  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Chronic heart, respiratory or liver disease
  • Chronic kidney disease, nephrotic syndrome, kidney transplant
  • Sickle- cell disease
  • Those with missing or non-functioning spleens
  • Immune system disorders including cancer
  • Persons with Down Syndrome
  • HIV infections or AIDS
  • Those receiving chemotherapy or other treatments that suppress the immune system
  • Those who have received or are about to receive cochlear implants
  • Persons who smoke
  • History of alcohol abuse
  • Individuals with occupational exposure to metal fume (i.e. welders)

Where is this service available?

Our pharmacy teams are here to help.

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