Pneumococcal vaccine

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In this article

  • What is it
  • What causes
  • How it is transmitted
  • Because it can be dangerous
  • The vaccine
  • The risks of vaccination
  • Who does not need to be vaccinated
  • When to postpone vaccination

What is pneumococcus

pneumococcus is the common name of a family of bacteria scientifically called Streptococcus pneumoniae - more than 90 types are known - very common in the population. Only a few of these 90 types are capable of causing major diseases.

What causes

Pneumococcus is a bacterium that can easily be found in airways of children and adults. Very often it stays there without giving rise to any disease, or causes infections in the upper respiratory tract such as ear infections, sinusitis or even bronchitis.

Sometimes, however, some strains can end up proliferating in areas of the body where they are not normally present, such as the lungs, the fluid that surrounds the brain or the blood, causing serious diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis or sepsis. In this case we speak of invasive pneumococcal diseases.

Invasive pneumococcal diseases can strike at any age but are more common in children - particularly under five and especially under two - in the elderly and in people with weakened or compromised immune systems.

How it is transmitted

Pneumococcus circulates easily from person to person: transmission occurs through the droplets of saliva emitted with sneezing, coughing or simply by talking or by direct contact with material contaminated with infected saliva.

Also Read: 15 Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Why pneumococcal infections can be dangerous

Because these infections can give rise to very serious diseases such as meningitis, which can also progress to sepsi, a highly lethal condition characterized by the disseminated invasion of bacteria into the blood, with impairment of the function of many organs.

The pneumococcal vaccine

There are actually two types of pneumococcal vaccine, both multipurpose that is able to protect against numerous strains responsible for invasive diseases:

  • il 13-valent vaccine, specific against 13 types of pneumococcus and particularly indicated for infants and children under five.
  • il 23-valent vaccine, specific against 23 types of pneumococcus but indicated for older children and adults. In fact, due to the way it is built, this vaccine is not effective in stimulating the immune defenses of younger children.

In Del Paese at this time this vaccination is not mandatory but highly recommended registered mail. The vaccination schedule provides three doses in the first year of life, in conjunction with hexavalent vaccination: at three months, five months and 11 months of age. Further vaccination is indicated after 64 yearsi.

The risks of vaccination

The pneumococcal vaccine is very safe and effective in preventing pneumococcal infection. Like any other drug, however, this vaccine can also have it side effects.

The studies carried out show that most of the adverse reactions to the vaccine are modest and in particular

  • fever (even very high, above 39.5 ° C),
  • redness and swelling of the puncture site,
  • irritability and nervousness,
  • drowsiness
  • and temporary loss of appetite.

More serious effects, like one allergic reaction, a much rarer gift.

Read also: Vaccines: Aifa confirms safety

Who does not need to be vaccinated

Anyone who has had one should not be vaccinated severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of this same vaccine or to any vaccine containing diphtheria toxin (such as the Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis vaccine) and anyone with a severe allergy to any component of the vaccine.

When to postpone vaccination

Children with mild illnesses (such as a cold) can usually be vaccinated with confidence. If, on the other hand, they have moderate or severe illnesses, it is advisable to wait for recovery before carrying out the vaccination.

Read also: Postponement of vaccinations, when is it necessary?

Sources for this article: Vaccinarsi website; information material of the health service of the Emilia Region of the city; Aifa report on post-marketing surveillance of vaccines

Read also: vaccines and children, guide from A to Z

  • pneumococcal vaccine
  • vaccinations for children
  • meningitis
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