The pneumococcal vaccine protects against serious and potentially fatal pneumococcal infections. It’s also known as the pneumonia vaccine.
A pneumococcal infection can affect anyone, however some people are at a higher risk of developing serious illnesses and it is recommended they receive the pneumococcal vaccination.
The pneumonia vaccine is routinely offered to:
Children under 2 (see our Child Health Services page)
Anyone aged 65 years or over
Those aged 2 to 64 years who fall into any of the following high risk groups:
- Patients with any of the following long term medical conditions:
- Chronic heart disease
- Chronic respiratory disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic liver disease
- Patients who are diabetic (any type)
- Patients with any form of immunosuppression
- Patients who have a cochlear implant (a hearing device)
- Patients who have had their spleen removed (splenectomy)
- Patients who have a history of problems with their spleen and those at risk of developing spleen problems (eg. Patients with coeliac disease)
- Patients who have 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
Some people with an occupational risk are advised to have the pneumococcal vaccine, including those who work with metal fumes, such as welders.
How Often Is the Pneumococcal Vaccine Given?
Children under 2 receive a form of pneumococcal vaccination know as the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme. It is given in 3 doses between 8 weeks and 1 year (see our Child Health Services page).
Adults and children over 2 receive a form of pneumococcal vaccination known as Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPV). People aged 65 and over only need a single pneumococcal vaccination. The pneumococcal vaccine is not given annually like the flu jab.
Patients in high risk groups and those with certain underlying health problems may need a booster vaccination every 5 years – your GP can tell you if you will need any booster vaccinations.
If you are eligible you can have the pneumococcal vaccine at any time of year, but it may be more convenient to receive it at the same time as your flu vaccine.
If you believe you are eligible and you have yet to be contacted by the surgery regarding the pneumococcal vaccine, please speak to your GP or to a Practice Nurse.
Is There Anyone Who Shouldn’t Have the Pneumococcal Vaccine?
Most people can have the pneumococcal vaccine, but it may not be possible for you to have it if you have had a serious allergic reaction to a vaccine (or to any ingredient in the pneumococcal vaccine) in the past.
Please speak you your GP if you have any concerns about receiving the pneumococcal vaccine.
Fever and the pneumococcal vaccine
If you are ill with a fever, it’s best to delay your pneumococcal vaccine until you have recovered. There is no need to delay your pneumococcal vaccine if you have a minor illness with no fever such as a cold.
Pregnancy and the pneumococcal vaccine
There is no evidence that the pneumococcal vaccine is harmful either to a pregnant woman or to her baby. However, as a precaution, women who need the vaccine should receive it before becoming pregnant, if possible. Please speak you your GP if you have any concerns regarding the pneumococcal vaccine and pregnancy.
You can find more information regarding the Pneumonia Vaccine on The NHS Website