Why Do You Need the Pneumococcal Vaccine?Immunization through all stages of life is very important, including as an adult. Because of the emergence of antibiotic resistance, treating simple conditions such as pneumonia is much harder as antibiotics often don’t work. People who stay up to date with adult immunizations can also help those at highest risk, including the elderly, youth and patients who are immunocompromised.
Pneumococcal pneumonia is a bacterial infection caused by the streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, and very similarly to a cough, cold or flu, it can be spread via the air. When you have a pneumococcal infection, invasive pneumococcal disease is a concern.
This dangerous condition has a fatality rate of between 5 and 7 percent. Invasive pneumococcal disease enters your bloodstream and causes a bacteremia or bloodborne infection.
It can also enter the nervous system and cause meningitis, or lead to bad pneumonia. Permanent complications of a pneumococcal infection include brain damage and deafness.
Who Should Get Immunized?
The National Advisory Committee recommends you get a pneumococcal vaccination if you’re:
- Over the age of 65
- Live or work in a long-term care facility
- A patient with a condition such as diabetes, chronic lung disease or alcoholism
There are two types of vaccines for pneumococcal infections: Pneumo 13,s and Pneumo 23. The PCV 13 vaccine protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria, while the PCV 23 vaccine protects against 23. Your physician can help determine which option is right for you.
Speak with your primary care provider for more information about pneumococcal infections and vaccinations.