The bacteria ‘streptococcus pneumoniae’ causes pneumococcal infections like pneumonia, blood poisoning and meningitis. If not checked on time, this can lead to organ damage, lung abscess, etc. The pneumonia vaccine is given to prevent pneumonia and it stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies which destroys the pneumococcal bacteria. The pneumonia vaccine is 90% effective, but it helps in reducing the symptoms. The vaccine has a few side effects like anxiety, difficulty in breathing, wheezing, etc.
The cost of the pneumonia vaccine depends on the type of vaccine and the manufacturer. The Pfizer vaccine called Prevenar 13 is sold at a price of about ₹3,991.05 per dose, whereas the GSK vaccine known as Synflorix is sold at a price of ₹2,039.5 per dose. More recently, the SII launched a pneumococcal vaccine (PCV) that costs around ₹750 per dose.
The purpose of giving either type of pneumonia vaccine is to prevent the onset of pneumococcal disease, which can result in life-threatening conditions if left unchecked. The vaccine works by stimulating the normal immune system to produce antibodies directed against the pneumococcus bacteria. The pneumococcus bacteria can also lead to complications like sepsis, meningitis, organ damage, lung abscess, and more. The vaccine helps the body to fight the disease so that there is no lasting damage and the symptoms become milder.
As per studies, the pneumonia vaccines are 90% effective in reducing the intensity and symptoms of the diseases caused by pneumococcus bacteria. The protection provided by these vaccines also lasts for many years. However, the vaccine cannot provide complete protection against the disease. If you feel you have any symptoms of pneumonia and related conditions even after taking the vaccine, you should not hesitate to visit your doctor for guidance. Moreover, you can avoid getting infected by wearing a mask in public and not consuming water/food prepared or stored in unhygienic places.
The pneumococcal vaccine is administered in the form of a single injection for adults. Specifically, it is injected as a liquid solution of 0.5 ML in the skin’s subcutaneous layer or within a muscle (intramuscular or IM), typically the deltoid muscle. This vaccine is conjugated and given in the form of a series of 4 separate injections in children. If a child misses a dose, nothing bad happens, besides improper immunisation of the body against pneumonia infections. The CDC has recommended that children who have missed their shots should still get the vaccine as adults.
There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines. Let us understand the different pneumonia vaccine names and the biology behind them:
PCV13 is a vaccine offering protection against different strains of pneumococcal bacteria that typically result in disease in adults and children. It is prescribed in several doses for children and just a singular dose for adults. PCV13 is recommended for adults over the age of 65 with conditions like kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, and more.
Pneumovax 23 is a type of pneumonia vaccine defending against 23 different strains of pneumococcal bacteria. Typically, it is prescribed as a singular dose. The pneumonia vaccine age range for this type includes adults more than 65 years, 2–64 with conditions like kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, and more. It also includes the adults between ages 19–64 who consume tobacco products in any form.
While vaccines are the best way to inoculate against diseases and curb their transmission, they need to be taken after consulting with a doctor and only if you are healthy. The pneumonia vaccination can be administered to the following groups:
Healthy children below the age of 2 years can be given the vaccine.
Citizens above the age of 65 can take the pneumonia vaccine.
Individuals with chronic health conditions, like heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, and/or diabetes, among others.
People with a weak immune system should take the vaccine to safeguard themselves from this disease.
Those who smoke cigarettes or inhale tobacco in any other form.
Ensure that you check with your doctor regarding which pneumonia vaccine is right for your children.
People with certain health disorders, allergic reactions or recurring illnesses should avoid the vaccine as it poses the risk of worsening their condition and intensifying side effects. It is recommended that the following should avoid receiving a pneumococcal vaccination:
Adults who are in good health between the ages of 18 and 50 can skip the pneumonia vaccine.
If you have had an allergic reaction to the vaccine or one of its ingredients, you should avoid getting a dose.
Anyone currently suffering from severe diseases should avoid getting the vaccine as it can lead to complications.
Although vaccines are generally safe but just like any other medical intervention, side effects ranging from mild to severe may arise. If the side effects persist, contact the doctor. Side effects of the pneumonia vaccine are mostly mild and last up to 24 hours. In rare cases, the individual might develop an allergic reaction to the pneumonia vaccine. According to CDC estimates, 1 individual for every 1 million doses administered is at risk of developing a serious allergic reaction to the vaccine. The following symptoms may occur shortly after the dose is administered:
If your child or you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, ensure you seek medical attention immediately.
Pneumococcal disease can result in potentially life-threatening conditions in both children and adults. The two types of pneumonia vaccines, as discussed above, exist to protect individuals against pneumococcal disease, and the type of vaccine administered will depend on either the age or the health condition of the individual receiving it. And, even then, if some health emergency were to occur, it’s always better to be prepared. Nowadays there are plans that cover the treatment of pneumonia and many other diseases. If you do not have health insurance yet, you should look into the health insurance plans available at Bajaj Markets.
The CDC recommends that eligible adults should get the pneumonia vaccine in 3 doses. Immunocompromised adults should get 2 doses with a gap of 5 years.
The effectiveness of the pneumonia vaccine differs as per the type of vaccine but is usually 50%-70% effective in warding off serious illness and symptoms.
The pneumonia vaccine can help bring down your chances of contracting the disease and also reduce the severity of the symptoms.
Some of the pneumonia vaccine side effects are:
Different health insurance plans have different coverage, so you need to read the policy documents to know if a plan offers coverage for the pneumonia vaccines.