Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection caused by streptococcus pneumoniae.

Over the years streptococcus pneumoniae has become resistant to many medications making the treatment of pneumococcal infections much more difficult. Prevention of disease through vaccination is now more important than ever.

What is the main illnesses caused by pneumococcal bacteria?

Pneumococcal infection is responsible for 50% of community acquired pneumonia and bacteraemia where the overall mortality rate can be as high as 25%.

Who is most at risk of pneumococcal disease?

Pneumococcal disease can lead to significant morbidity and mortality, particularly amongst the very young, the very old, those with impaired immunity and no spleen.


Who should NOT receive the vaccine?

· Anyone who has had a serious (life -threatening) allergic reaction to a previous dose or any of its components.

· High temperature .


Who should be vaccinated with the pneumococcal vaccine ?

· Everybody aged 65 years and over


· Those aged over 2 years and less than 65 who have any of the following:

- Asplenia or splenic dysfunction (including surgical splenectomy, sickle cell disease and coeliac disease) - Candidates for, or recipients of, a cochlear implant - Children under 5 years of age with a history of invasive pneumococcal disease, irrespective of vaccine history. - Chronic renal disease or nephrotic syndrome - Chronic heart, lung, or liver disease - Complement deficiency (particularly early component deficiencies C1, C2, C3, C4) - CSF leaks either congenital or complicating skull fracture or neurosurgery - Diabetes mellitus - Immunosuppressive conditions (e.g. some B- and T-cell disorders, HIV infection, leukaemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease) and those receiving immunosuppressive therapies. - Intracranial shunt

- Post haematopoietic stem cell transplant - Solid organ transplant

Vaccination is not recommended for healthy young adults, as there is little risk of pneumococcal infection.


Are there any side effects from vaccination?

The most commonly reported adverse reactions are localised redness and swelling at the injection site (>10%).

How often is vaccination with PPV required?

Aged 65 years and older

A once only booster vaccination is recommended 5 years after the first vaccination for those who received a previous dose at less than 65 years of age.

Those aged age 65 or older who have received one dose of PPV do not require any further dose regardless of immune status.

Less than 65 years of age

One booster vaccination is recommended 5 years after the first vaccination for those whose antibody levels are likely to decline rapidly e.g. asplenia, hyposplenism, immunosuppression including HIV infection, chronic renal disease, nephrotic syndrome or renal transplant.

If the vaccine was given during chemotherapy or radiotherapy a further dose vaccine is recommended 3 months after treatment.


When is a 3rd dose of PPV required?

Adults whose antibodies are likely to decline rapidly should receive two doses of PPV while aged less than 65.

They will need a third dose of PPV when they turn 65 -if at least five years have passed since their last dose of PPV.

Depending on age and risk factors a person may require 1, 2 or 3 doses of PPV.

Can PPV vaccine be given at the same time as the influenza vaccine?

Yes. Pneumococcal vaccine may be given at the same time as influenza vaccine but at a different site