What is Pneumococcal Disease?

  • Pneumococcal disease is used to describe a group of illnesses from mild ear and sinus infections to more severe infections of pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis.
  • The most common cause of these illnesses is the bacteria Streptococcus pneumonia. Many people carry these bacteria in their nose and throat without causing harm but when they invade the lungs or bloodstream they can cause serious infection.
  • The infection is spread from person to person in droplets by coughing, sneezing or close contact.
  • The most at risk groups for acquiring a serious case of pneumococcal disease are older people, children under 2 years old and those with no spleen or impaired immunity.

 

Who should get the Pneumococcal Vaccine?

  • There are two types of Pneumococcal Vaccine.
  • One vaccine, PCV, is given to infants as part of their routine childhood immunisation schedule, protecting babies from this disease.
  • The service provided in pharmacy is for the vaccine, PPV23, which we can administer to any individual aged 65 and over or anyone over the age of 18 who falls into these risk categories below.
  • Most individuals will only need to be vaccinated for this disease once, however re-vaccination or boosters are recommended for some people, depending on your age and risk factors.
  • Our pharmacists are trained to advise if you should require the vaccination and are also able to liaise with your GP if your pneumococcal vaccination history is required.

 

Risk Groups:

All individuals aged 65yrs and over

Adults aged 18 years and over with:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Chronic Heart, Respiratory or Liver disease
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Disorders of the immune system including cancer, HIV
  • Solid transplant patients
  • Smokers
  • Alcoholic Dependence
  • Down Syndrome
  • Individuals with exposure to metal fumes through their work e.g. welders

 

Who should not receive the pneumococcal vaccine?

  • You should not have the vaccine if you have a history of severe allergic reaction to a previous dose or to any part of the vaccine.
  • If you are unwell with another infection or fever vaccination should be delayed until you are better.

 

What are the potential side effects from the vaccine?

It is not possible to get the disease from the vaccine as it does not contain live bacteria, but like most vaccines, it can cause mild side effects.

These can include:

  • Pain, redness, hardness or swelling at the injection site.
  • Headache, tiredness and mild muscle aches can also occur.
  • In very rare occasions a serve allergic reaction can occur to any vaccine.
  • Our pharmacists are fully trained to deal with this situation. We ask that all our patients remain in store for 15 minutes post vaccination in case you have any immediate side effects.

 

Can you get the pneumococcal vaccine at the same time as the flu vaccine?

  • Yes, this is the ideal time to get the vaccine if you have not previously been vaccinated.
  • The two vaccines can be safely administered, one in each arm, in one consultation.

 

What can I expect once I have had the vaccine?

  • Following the vaccine most adults take 3 weeks to build up protection.
  • The vaccine encourages your body to produce antibodies against the pneumococcal bacteria. These antibodies are then stored in your body to protect you from getting sick if you were to come in contact with these bacteria.
  • The vaccine protects against 23 types of pneumococcal disease including those most likely to cause severe disease.

 

How do I avail of this vaccination?

  • To avail of this vaccine or discuss the potential need for the vaccine, you can phone or call into any of our stores HERE where our pharmacists will speak with you directly to discuss the vaccine, check your eligibility and arrange an appointment time that is suitable for you.
  • The cost of consultation with administration of the vaccine is €40.