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Pneumococcal Vaccine

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (serotype (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6B + 7F + 8 + 9N + 9V + 10A + 11A + 12F + 14 + 15B + 17F + 18C + 19A + 19F + 20 + 22F + 23F + 33F)) Pneumovax, Pneumo 23, Prevenar

Pneumococcal Vaccine - What is it for

Pneumococcal vaccines help to prevent pneumococcal disease caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Pneumococcal disease includes infection of the lungs (pneumonia), ear (otitis media), brain (meningitis), blood (bacteremia) and other serious infections.

Symptoms of pneumococcal disease vary depending on the infected organ. It can range from low-grade fever, cough, ear ache and chest pain, to more serious symptoms such as confusion or severe headaches.

What are the types of Pneumococcal vaccines available?

There are 2 types of pneumococcal vaccines available:

1. Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine (PCV13)

2. Pneumococcal Polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23)

PCV13 protects against 13 pneumococcal bacteria strains that most commonly cause pneumococcal disease, while the PPSV23 protects against 23 strains. PCV13 when given before PPSV23, provides an extended protection in a selected group of patients, as compared to giving PPSV23 alone.

Who should receive the vaccine?

All infants should be given two doses of PCV13 (at ages 3 and 5 months), with a booster at 12 months. Children who fall behind should be given catch-up vaccination through to 59 months of age. You may refer to the Singapore National Childhood Immunisation Schedule or ask your child’s doctor for more details.

In the elderly aged 65 years and above, one dose each of PCV13 and PPSV23 is recommended.

Please consult your doctor for more details (e.g. on the number of recommended doses and vaccine type) for the following medical conditions:

  • Persons aged 18 years and older with chronic illnesses, such as chronic lung, heart, kidney or liver diseases and diabetes mellitus
  • Persons who are immunocompromised (having lower body resistance to infections) or with other medical conditions, such as persons with:
    • Cochlear implants or cerebrospinal fluid leaks;
    • Abnormal spleen function (including conditions such as homozygous sickle cell disease and coeliac syndrome)

Pneumococcal Vaccine - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Pneumococcal Vaccine cause?

Some people may feel faint after the vaccination

  • Sit for 15 minutes to avoid fainting

Soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site, slight headache, body aches or tiredness; fever of more than 38 C is not common

(i) These side effects usually go away on its own within 2 to 3 days

(ii) You may take Paracetamol to help to relieve the pain or fever

Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) are rare and can happen within minutes to a few hours after vaccination.

The symptoms of a severe allergic reaction include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should inform your healthcare professional immediately.

Before taking Pneumococcal Vaccine, what precautions must I follow?

Inform your healthcare professional if:
  • You are allergic to this vaccine or any of the other ingredients of this vaccine
  • You have a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a rare nerve condition)
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Pneumococcal Vaccine?

Pneumococcal Vaccine - Dosage and How to Use

How should Pneumococcal Vaccine be used?

It is given by injection into a muscle.

For individuals in which both PCV13 and PPSV23 are recommended, and who have yet to receive any pneumococcal vaccine, PCV13 should be given first, followed by PPSV23 a year later (or at least after a minimum interval of 8 weeks) for better protection.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

What should I do if I overdose?

Pneumococcal Vaccine - Handling

How should I handle Pneumococcal Vaccine safely?

Pneumococcal Vaccine - Storage

How should I store Pneumococcal Vaccine?

How should I dispose of Pneumococcal Vaccine safely?

Pneumococcal Vaccine - Additional Information

  • Updated on
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup

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