The most common cause of blood infection, pneumonia, meningitis and ear infection has been a Streptococcus pneumonia bacterium. All of these diseases come under the category of pneumococcal disease. The disease is common during early spring as well as winter and spreads from person-to-person. Some cases of pneumococcal infection have culminated to extensive brain damage. Few invasive pneumococcal infections can also take the life of infants.
Who should be given a pneumococcal vaccine?
Primarily, the pneumococcal vaccine is administered on three types of individuals –
- Infants (under the age of 2)
- Old people (above the age of 65)
- Young adults and children having serious kidney or heart condition derived from pneumococcal disease itself
How often PCV13 is given?
- The infants receive three separate injections – one at two months, followed by another at four months and the last one when during 12-13 months after the birth.
- Senior adults – over the age of 65 years – require a single vaccination, protecting them for life.
- The adults and young children require one pneumococcal vaccination or a five-yearly vaccination, depending on the criticality of the health problem.
Variants of pneumonia vaccine
There are two kinds of pneumococcal vaccine:-
- Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV, Prevnar 13 or PCV13) – The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is administered on infants under the age of two. In some countries, the vaccine has become an integral part of the childhood vaccination program. The development of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine India has risen to a new high with several leading vaccine laboratories contributing in its production.
- Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) – This is another vaccine, which is administered on people of age 65 and above. Also, the vaccine is given to those people having a continuing health condition.
Close to 90 types of pneumococcal bacterium have been identified; although, eight to ten of them cause fatal infection. The PCV13 gives protection against 13 strains; similarly, PPV gives protection against nearly 23 strains. With the progresses in medicine, the vaccine development laboratories will soon come up with holistic cures for some of the ills such as pneumonia.