What Is the Purpose of the Pneumococcal Vaccine?
Pneumococcal vaccines aid in the prevention of pneumococcal disease caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.Pneumococcal disease can cause lung infection (pneumonia), ear infection (otitis media), brain infection (meningitis), blood infection (bacteremia), and other serious infections.
The symptoms of pneumococcal disease differ depending on the organ infected. It can range from mild symptoms like a fever, cough, earache, and chest pain to more serious ones like confusion or severe headaches.
What Kinds of Pneumococcal Vaccines Are There?
Vaccines are classified into two types:
- Vaccine against Pneumococcal Conjugate (PCV13)
- Vaccine Against Pneumococcal Polysaccharide (PPSV23)
The PCV13 vaccine protects against 13 of the most common pneumococcal bacteria strains that cause pneumococcal disease, whereas the PPSV23 vaccine protects against 23 strains. When PCV13 is given before PPSV23, it provides more protection in a subset of patients than PPSV23 alone.
Who Should Get a Pneumococcal Vaccine?
All infants should receive two PCV13 doses (at 4 and 6 months) with a booster at 12 months. Children who fall behind should receive catch-up vaccinations until the age of 59 months. For more information, consult the Singapore National Childhood Immunisation Schedule or your child’s doctor.
One dose of PCV13 and PPSV23 is recommended for the elderly aged 65 and up to provide lifetime protection.
For more information (e.g., the number of recommended doses and types of vaccine), please consult your doctor for the following medical conditions:
People over the age of 18 with chronic illnesses such as chronic lung, heart, kidney, or liver disease, or diabetes mellitus
Individuals who are immunocompromised (have a lower body’s resistance to infections) or have other medical conditions, such as Cochlear implants or cerebrospinal fluid leaks;
Splenular dysfunction (including conditions such as homozygous sickle cell disease and coeliac syndrome)