Pneumococcal Disease

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What is Pneumo and what illnesses can it cause?

Pneumo, or Pneumococcal disease, is a major cause of illness and death in Ireland, particularly among the very young, the elderly and those with a weakened immune system1.

Pneumo is caused by a common bacterium, Streptoccocus pneumoniae, which can attack different parts of the body2. It can cause illnesses that range from mild to very severe2. When pneumococcal bacteria spreads from the nose and throat to ears or sinuses, it generally causes mild infections2. When it spreads into other parts of the body, it can lead to severe health problems like pneumonia and meningitis2.

VACCINATION IS RECOMMENDED FOR THOSE AT RISK OF DISEASE AS PART OF THE NATIONAL IMMUNISATION PROGRAMME.

Pneumococcal disease is very serious. Those in the following at risk groups should be vaccinated with Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPV23)1

Pneumococcal Immunisation Programme

Adult Pneumococcal Vaccination

Pneumococcal Vaccines which can help protect certain populations against Pneumococcal disease are available through the National PPV23 (Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine) Immunisation Programme1,3.

The Vaccine is free of charge for those for whom it is officially recommended, such as people over the age of 65 and in identified at-risk groups, such as those with diabetes, heart disease or respiratory conditions1.

Outside the childhood immunisation programme, pneumococcal vaccination is usually a single vaccination for those at-risk, but re-vaccination may be required for some people in certain at-risk groups3.

The Vaccine can be received when getting your annual flu vaccination or any other time that you visit your doctor’s surgery1.

Paediatric Pneumococcal Vaccination

PCV 13 (Pneumococcal conjugate Vaccine) or Prevenar 13 is recommended for the routine vaccination of all children born on or after 1st October 20103. PCV 13 contains Polysaccharide from 13 of the most common capsular types (1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 6B, 7F, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, 19F and 23F)3.

Children should not get PCV if:

  • They had a serious (life-threatening) allergic reaction to a previous dose or any of its constituents3.
  • Conditions associated with an increased risk of (IPD) Invasive Pneumococcal Disease4

    1 Individuals with primary immunodeficiency may have a suboptimal response to all Vaccines. Pneumococcal Vaccines are unlikely to be immunogenic in children with primary immune deficiencies involving significant B cell compromise who are receiving regular IVIG replacement therapy. However vaccination should be given as it may have some effect.

    For more information please visit:
    http://NIAC Immunisation Guidelines. Chapter 16. Pneumococcal Infection | Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (preservica.com)

    Pneumococcal immunisation for those at increased risk of IPD (Invasive Pneumococcal Disease)4

    High risk (Group A)Medium risk (Group B)
    PCV131PPV23PCV13PPV23
    6 weeks – <24 monthsRoutine schedule1 dose at > 2 years of ageRoutine schedule21 dose at > 2 years of age
    2 – <5 yearsIf unvaccinated, 2 doses1 dose > 2 months after PCVIf unvaccinated, 1 dose21 dose > 2 months after PCV
    5 – <18 yearsIf unvaccinated, 1 or 23 doses41 dose > 2 months after PCVIf unvaccinated, 1 dose1 dose
    18 – <65 yearsIf unvaccinated, 1 or 23 doses41 – 25 doses > 2 months after PCVNone2 doses, with 2nd dose at ≥65years, ≥5 years after 1st dose)
    ≥65 years1 or 23 doses1 dose ≥2 months after PCVNone1 dose

    1 HSCT recipients require 3 doses at 6, 8 and 12 months post-transplant
    2 1 additional dose if had IPD, irrespective of Vaccine history
    3 2 doses 2 months apart if response may be blunted e.g. asplenia/ hyposplenia (see Chapter 3)
    4 If fully vaccinated with PCV7 give 1 dose of PCV13
    5 2 doses 5 years apart if response may be blunted e.g. asplenia/ hyposplenia (see Chapter 3)

    For more information please visit:
    http://NIAC Immunisation Guidelines. Chapter 16. Pneumococcal Infection | Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (preservica.com)