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 What is the pneumococcal vaccine and who needs it?

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Dawnie
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PostSubject: What is the pneumococcal vaccine and who needs it?   Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:16 am

Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by a type of bacteria
called Streptococcus pneumoniae. When these bacteria invade the lungs,
they cause the most common kind of bacterial pneumonia and can then
invade the bloodstream (bacteremia) and/or the tissues and fluids
surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). Another common
complication is infection of the middle ear (otitis media).
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV)


If you are over the age of 65 you can now have the pneumococcal
polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) (known as the 'pneumo jab') to protect you
against serious forms of pneumococcal infection. You won't need it each
year and for most it's a one-off vaccination. If you haven't already
been sent an appointment and would like more information, contact your
local GP surgery.
You can also have this vaccination if:

  • you don't have a spleen, or if your spleen doesn't work properly,
  • your immune system doesn't work properly (due to HIV, chemotherapy etc),
  • you have chronic disease of the heart, lungs, liver or kidneys, or
  • you have diabetes.

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)


From September 2006, children from two months of age will be
vaccinated against pneumococcal infection with a new vaccine called the
pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV). It will be offered to all
children at 2, 4 and 13 months. The vaccine is also recommended for all
children up to five years of age who are at an increased risk of
getting pneumococcal disease because they have certain serious medical
conditions, including:

  • serious breathing problems, such as severe asthma,
  • serious heart conditions,
  • severe kidney disease,
  • long term liver disease,
  • diabetes that needs medication, or
  • a suppressed immune system due to, for example, long-term steroid use, treatment for cancer, and/or problems with the spleen.

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