What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia :

  • is a lung disease that can infect the upper respiratory tract and can spread to the blood, lungs, middle ear or nervous system.
  • is a leading cause of vaccine-preventable illness and death in the United States. -Pneumococcal pneumonia mainly causes illnesses in children younger than 2 years of age and adults 65 years of age or older.
  • puts elderly at risk of getting seriously ill and dying from this disease.
  • puts people with certain medical conditions such as chronic heart, lung, or liver diseases or sickle cell anemia at increased risk.

What is the vaccine to prevent pneumonia?

The two kinds of vaccines are:

  • The pneumonia (pneumococcal) polysaccharide vaccine protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria (PPSV23).
  • The pneumonia (pneumococcal) conjugate vaccine protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria (PCV13), including those most likely to cause serious disease.

New recommendations state that two doses (one polysaccharide and one conjugate) of pneumonia vaccine are needed, but under some circumstances additional doses may be recommended.

Who should get the pneumonia vaccine?

A second dose of PPSV23 and PCV13 is recommended:

  • for people 65 and older who got their first dose when they were younger than 65.

A second dose of PPSV23 is recommended for people 2 through 64 years of age who:

  • Have a damaged spleen or no spleen
  • Have sickle-cell disease
  • Have HIV infection or AIDS
  • Have cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma
  • Have kidney disease
  • Have had an organ or bone marrow transplant
  • Are taking medication that lowers immunity (such as chemotherapy or long-term steroids

If the patient is:

  • less than 65 years old and has received PPSV23 the second dose should be given 5 years after the first dose.
  • 65 years and older who has never received either pneumonia vaccine, PCV13 vaccine should be given then 6-12 months later PPSV23 vaccine should be given.
  • 65 years and older who has received PPSV23 vaccine, PCV13 should be given 12 months later.

Who should not get the pneumonia vaccine?

Anyone who:

  • has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to pneumonia or to any component of the vaccine should not get another dose.
  • is moderately or severely ill should probably wait until they recover before getting the vaccine.
  • is pregnant women should consult with their OB/GYN before getting vaccinated.

What are the side effects of the pneumonia vaccine?

Mild-to-moderate problems:

  • Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
  • Fever, muscle aches, and drowsiness

Severe problems (rare) including allergic reactions:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Hives
  • Pale skin
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Dizziness

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