Make winter worry free

We tend to associate winter ailments with older people. Although more prevalent in winter months, pneumococcal infections can actually strike people of any age, at any time.

That’s why Health Plus Pharmacy is making protection easier for all.

The pneumococcal vaccine protects you against pneumococcal infections, which can be dangerous and potentially fatal. It is sometimes called the “pneumo jab” or the pneumonia vaccine.

There are two different types of the vaccine:

  • The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) – £70
  • The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) – £30

We will recommend the most suitable vaccine for you based on your age, health and preference. We also offer the pneumococcal vaccination for patients over the age of two.

Health Plus Pharmacy make the pneumococcal  vaccination convenient and accessible for all the community in Cardiff and Pontypool. Book an appointment with a pharmacist to explore your treatment options.

About the Pneumococcal vaccine

Price: £30 per PPV dose - £70 per PCV dose

Course: There are two different pneumococcal vaccines. Both consist of one dose. The nurse or pharmacist will let you know which vaccine is suitable for you.

How it is given: The pneumococcal vaccine is given as an injection Injection in the upper arm.

Side effects: The vaccine can cause mild side effects, for example tiredness, a higher temperature and redness or swelling at the injection site.

Children: Suitable for children from the age of two.

Why have the pneumococcal vaccine?

Pneumococcal infections are caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. The infections can lead to illnesses such as:

  • pneumonia (lung infection)
  • ear infection
  • meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord)
  • septicaemia (a type of blood poisoning)
  • sinus infections
  • severe infections cause brain damage, or even death.

Although pneumonia is more likely to severely affect patients under 2 and over 65 as well as those with long term health conditions, pneumonia can affect anyone.

The vaccine protects you against pneumococcal infections and the complications it can cause.

How does it work?

The pneumococcal vaccine works by making your body produce antibodies that fight pneumococcal bacteria. Antibodies destroy organisms or bacteria carrying disease, and help fight off infections.

The NHS estimates that the pneumococcal vaccine is between 50-70% effective in preventing pneumococcal disease.

Who should have the pneumococcal vaccine?

There are 4 groups of people who are advised to get vaccinated against pneumococcal infections:

  • babies
  • people aged 65 and over
  • anyone from the ages of 2 to 64 with a health condition that increases their risk of pneumococcal infection
  • anyone at occupational risk, are advised to have the pneumococcal vaccine, including those who work with metal fumes, such as welders and metal workers

Who can’t have the vaccine?

Not everyone can have the pneumococcal vaccine.

You can’t have it if you:

  • have a vaccine allergy
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • have a fever or temperature at the time of your appointment

Babies and the pneumococcal vaccine

Babies are routinely vaccinated with a type of pneumococcal vaccine known as the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) as part of their childhood vaccination programme.

Babies are usually given the PCV at:

  • 12 weeks old
  • 1 year old

Adults aged 65 or over and the pneumococcal vaccine

If you’re 65 or over, you should be offered a type of pneumococcal vaccine known as the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV).

This one-off vaccination is very effective at protecting you against serious forms of pneumococcal infection.

People with health problems and the pneumococcal vaccine

The PPV vaccine is available on the NHS for children and adults aged from 2 to 64 years old who are at a higher risk of developing a pneumococcal infection than the general population.

This is generally the same people who are eligible for annual flu vaccination.

You’re considered to be at a higher risk of a pneumococcal infection if you have:

  • had your spleen removed, your spleen does not work properly, or you’re at risk of your spleen not working properly in future (for example, if you have coeliac disease)
  • a long-term respiratory disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • heart disease, such as congenital heart disease
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic liver disease, such as liver cirrhosis
  • diabetes
  • a suppressed immune system caused by a health condition, such as HIV
  • a suppressed immune system caused by medicines, such as chemotherapy or steroid tablets
  • a cochlear implant (a hearing device)
  • had a leak of cerebrospinal fluid (the clear fluid that surrounds the brain and spine) – this could be the result of an accident or surgery

Adults and children who are severely immunocompromised (including anyone with leukaemia, multiple myeloma, genetic disorders affecting the immune system, or after a bone marrow transplant) usually have a single dose of PCV followed by PPV.

Booster doses of pneumococcal vaccine

If you’re at increased risk of a pneumococcal infection, you’ll be given a single dose of the PPV vaccine.

But if your spleen does not work properly or you have a chronic kidney condition, you may need booster doses of PPV every 5 years.

This is because your levels of antibodies against the infection decrease over time.

Ask your GP surgery if you think you should have the pneumococcal vaccine booster. A GP will then decide if you should have it.

What to do if you miss a dose of pneumococcal vaccine

If you or your child has missed a routine dose of pneumococcal vaccine, speak to your GP surgery about when you can complete the course.

Side effects of the pneumococcal vaccine

It isn’t possible to catch a pneumococcal infection from the vaccine, because it doesn’t contain any live bacteria. It is a very safe vaccine, but like all vaccinations, it can cause some side effects.

Common side effects of the PCV vaccine include:

  • swelling, hardness or redness where the injection was given
  • slightly decreased appetite
  • somewhat higher temperature
  • trouble sleeping, and sleepiness

Serious side effects (which are rare) of the PCV vaccine include:

  • allergic skin rash
  • very high temperature, sometimes leading to convulsions (febrile seizures)

The PPV vaccine has some common side effects:

  • mild pain or hardness where the injection was made (1-3 days)
  • somewhat higher temperature
  • The only serious side effect of the PPV vaccine is an allergic reaction.

Allergic reactions are very rare, and happen within a few minutes of the injection. Anyone who is given either vaccine is fully supervised in case this happens, so that it can be treated with adrenaline straight away.

Why do I need a pneumococcal vaccine?

The pneumococcal vaccine protects against serious and potentially fatal pneumococcal infections. It’s also known as the pneumonia vaccine. Pneumococcal infections are caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae and can lead to pneumonia, blood poisoning (sepsis) and meningitis.

How common is pneumococcal disease?

Diseases caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus) are a major public health problem worldwide. In the developing world young children and the elderly are most affected; it is estimated that about one million children die of pneumococcal disease every year.

When is pneumococcal vaccine recommended?

CDC recommends routine administration of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13 or PCV15) for all children younger than 2 years of age: Give PCV13 or PCV15 to infants as a series of 4 doses, one dose at each of these ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12 through 15 months.

Who should be vaccinated for pneumococcal?

People aged 65 and over. anyone from the ages of 2 to 64 with a health condition that increases their risk of pneumococcal infection. anyone at occupational risk, such as welders.

How long does the pneumococcal vaccine last for?

Younger than 2 years old: four shots (at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and then a booster between 12 and 15 months)

Between 2 and 64 years old: between one and three shots if you have certain immune system disorders or if you’re a smoker.

65 years old or older: two shots, which will last you the rest of your life.

People with a long-term health condition: will either need a one-off single dose or one dose every 5 years, depending on their underlying health condition.

How do you get pneumococcal disease?

Pneumococcal disease is spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing, and close contact. Some people, especially children, can carry the bacteria in their nose and throat without being sick and can spread the bacteria to others.

How is pneumococcal disease treated?

Pneumococcal disease is treated with antibiotics. One of the best ways to help protect against certain types of infectious diseases, including pneumococcal, is through vaccination.