BY DR DALE GARRED, MANLY VILLAGE MEDICAL
All you need to know about the ‘pneumonia’ vaccine.
Pneumococcal Disease is an infection cause by a type of bacteria called ‘Streptocuccus pneumoniae’. There are many different strains of Streptoccus pneumoniae bacteria. While it is often associated with lung infection (pneumonia), Streptococcus pneumonia can also cause serious blood infections and infections of the brain lining (Meningitis).
Vaccination is available to protect against the more common strains of Pneumococcus, and is funded (free) for many ELIGIBLE patients. There are 2 types of pneumococcal vaccine (each protecting against different strains) provided for free under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for different groups.
- Routine vaccination of infants and children at 2, 4 and 12 months
- Children under 12 months who have certain medical conditions that put them at higher risk of getting serious pneumococcal disease (additional doses)
- Routine vaccination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years or over
- Routine vaccination of all people aged 70 years or over
- All people 12 months and over who have certain medical conditions that put them at higher risk of getting serious pneumococcal disease
The recommended number and timing of doses, as well as the type of vaccine depends on a person’s age, ABTSI status, state they live in, whether they have had a pneumococcal vaccine before and whether they have conditions that increase their risk of pneumococcal disease.
The vaccines that protect against pneumococcal disease have been around a long time and are considered safe, with few side effects. Common side effects such as pain, redness and fever are usually mild. If you think you might be eligible for a FREE pneumococcal vaccine – please book an appointment with your GP to discuss this. All patients who are concerned about their own risk of pneumococcal disease may purchase the vaccine privately if they are not eligible for a NIP funded vaccine.