There are more than 5,000 cases of pneumococcal disease in England each year, resulting in serious illness and even death. Are you considered a vulnerable person when it comes to your risk of contracting pneumonia? How could the vaccination protect you and prevent this disease from attacking?
December and January are the highest risk months
Pneumococcal disease is caused by a strain of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumonia. It is responsible for a range of serious illnesses including septicaemia, pneumonia and meningitis, as well as middle ear infections, sinusitis and bronchitis.
World Pneumonia Day was this month, on 12 November. It’s purpose is to raise awareness and highlight the severity of pneumonia, and other related illnesses, as December and January are the peak months for these types of disease.
As GPs, we recommend vaccinating against pneumococcal disease if you or one of your family falls into the following vulnerable groups:
- the very young
- older people
- people with no spleen function
- people with impaired immunity or chronic medical conditions
The reason for this is that pneumococcal disease poses a serious risk to health and can cause death in those with an underdeveloped or weakened immune system.
There are two types of vaccine that are effective against pneumococcal disease.
What vaccines protect against pneumonia?
(1) The Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine (PCV) is recommended for babies and children under two as well as people who are at increased risk of disease due to certain medical conditions (including sickle cell disease, HIV infection and diabetes).
Babies usually have three injections:
- at 8 weeks
- at 16 weeks
- at one year
PCV helps protect against the 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria that are the most common causes of serious infections in children and adults. It can also help prevent some ear infections.
(2) The Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPV) is given to adults aged 65 or over and those with certain long-term health conditions who are at increased risk of developing a pneumococcal infection.
This vaccine is given as a single dose, although a booster dose may be recommended in some cases. PPV helps protect against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria.
All vaccines can cause side-effects, most of which are minor.Talk to your GP if you are worried though and they can explain these in more detail.
Private GP Costs
The cost of our vaccines to protect against pneumonia is £55. These are provided in the comfort of our Harley Street medical centre.
Avoid having a vaccine against pneumococcal infection if you are pregnant, or severely unwell, or have had a previous life-threatening allergic reaction to the vaccine.
A visit to our Harley Street centre helps you to take a preventive approach to your health and the health of your family.
Our centre is open from 8:30am – 5:00pm, Monday to Friday.
Telephone: 0207 935 7501