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Frequently Asked Questions About Pneumonia Vaccines

Frequently Asked Questions About Pneumonia Vaccines

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pneumonia is responsible for 15% of all deaths in children under the age of 5. But, it doesn’t mean that this condition leaves adults unscathed. In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) mentioned that the risk of severe illness and death due to pneumococcal diseases is greatest among older adults. The good news is, pneumonia vaccines prevent severe illnesses, complications, and hospitalizations. They also decrease mortality. Here’s what you need to know about pneumonia vaccine shots in the Philippines.

pneumonia vaccine philippines

Diseases and Pneumonia Vaccine Shots

A “pneumo jab” doesn’t just offer protection against pneumonia.

You see, it protects us from one particular bacteria – the Streptococcus pneumoniae which has different serotypes. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common bacteria that causes community acquired pneumonia among all others.

But besides pneumonia, Streptococcus pneumoniae infections can also cause bacteremia (blood infection), bacterial meningitis or the inflammation of the covering of the spinal cord and brain, sinusitis, and otitis media (middle ear infection).

Important note:

Streptococcus pneumoniae has at least 100 serotypes or variants. Many serotypes cause diseases, but only a few can lead to the majority of pneumococcal diseases.

Getting a pneumo jab doesn’t offer protection against all the serotypes; however, it helps protect you from most of the serotypes that lead to severe infections.

Who Needs Pneumonia Vaccines?

A pneumococcal vaccine isn’t for everyone. Generally, the doctor suggests the vaccination to:

  • Babies under the age of 2
  • Adults aged 65 or older
  • Children and adults aged 2 to 64 with underlying health issues that make them vulnerable to pneumococcal diseases

If you or your loved ones are under any of the groups above, talk to your doctor so they can guide you on receiving the appropriate pneumococcal vaccine.

Who Shouldn’t Get a Pneumo Jab?

Anyone with a severe allergic reaction to pneumococcal vaccines should not get the shot for the second time. Similarly, those with allergies to any vaccine containing diphtheria toxoid, such as DTaP, should not get the PCV-13 vaccine.

If you or your loved one has other known allergies, talk to the doctor. They will discuss with you the ingredients in the vaccine and the possibility of allergic reactions.

Pneumonia Vaccine Types in the Philippines

There are two pneumonia vaccine types in the Philippines: the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV). Refer to the guide below to check their differences:

PCV

Currently, we have the PCV-10 and PCV-13; the first offers protection against 10 serotypes, and the latter protects the patient from 13 serotypes.

PCV-10 and PCV-13 are commonly given to children 6 weeks to 5 years old, typically under the age of 2. Usually, it requires 3 primary doses given at least one month apart and then followed by 1 booster dose when the child is 12 to 15 months old or 6 months after the last primary dose.

Adults can also receive PCV-13 after their doctor’s recommendation.

PPV

PPV protects us from 23 serotypes of Streptococcus pneumonia. Doctors commonly recommend a single dose of PPV to adults aged 65 and older. However, those with an increased risk of severe pneumococcal illness might need revaccination (typically after at least 5 years).

PPV may also be given to children aged 2 years up and adults younger than 65 if they have underlying health issues that increase their risk of severe pneumococcal infection.

How Can Pneumonia be Prevented?

Potential Side Effects

Like most vaccines, potential side effects include mild fever, redness, and swelling on the injection site. There’s also a risk of a severe allergic reaction, but cases of such are rare.

Where Can I Get a Pneumococcal Vaccine?

The Expanded Program on Immunization in the Philippines includes pneumonia vaccine shots for babies.

For adults, you can get it from both public and private health facilities. Out-of-pocket expenses for the vaccine may reach up to 5,000 pesos.

Key Takeaways

For some people, pneumococcal diseases, such as pneumonia, can lead to severe illnesses and even death. The good news is, many infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae are vaccine-preventable. In the Philippines, two pneumonia vaccine types are available: the PCV (generally for children) and PPV (generally for adults). For guidance on getting the vaccine, consult your doctor.

Learn more about Respiratory Health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

PNEUMOCOCCAL CONJUGATE VACCINES (PCV) REASSESSMENT IN THE PHILIPPINES
https://doh.gov.ph/sites/default/files/health_advisory/HTAC%20Recommendation-PCV-Reassessment.pdf
Accessed April 14, 2021

DOH CONTINUES TO USE PCV13 CONTRARY TO REPORTS
https://doh.gov.ph/doh-press-release/doh-continues-to-use-PCV13-contrary-to-reports
Accessed April 14, 2021

Pneumonia
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/pneumonia
Accessed April 14, 2021

Pneumococcal disease
https://www.who.int/ith/vaccines/pneumococcal/en/
Accessed April 14, 2021

Vaccine, Pneumococcal
https://www.mims.com/philippines/drug/info/vaccine,%20pneumococcal?mtype=generic

Pneumococcal Disease
https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/Immunization/DiseasesandVaccines/PneumococcalDisease#what
Accessed April 14, 2021

Pneumococcal Vaccination
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/pneumo/index.html
Accessed April 14, 2021

Pneumococcal Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/pneumo/public/index.html
Accessed April 14, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. on Apr 20
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