The pneumococcal infection starts when a type of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumonia starts to invade the lungs. The best way to avoid pneumococcal infections is to take pneumonia vaccine shots at the right time. However, there can be many kinds of pneumococcal disease. This bacteria type also can enter the bloodstream causing many complications and blood infection diseases like bacteremia.
Meningitis is a disease that is caused by pneumococcal infections as well as other kinds of viruses. The bacteria or the virus infiltrate the protective membrane covering the brain and spinal cord tissues. This causes immense pain and inflammation inside the brain. There is a higher risk of possible death when meningitis is developed by Streptococcus pneumonia.
Pneumococcal infections are very contagious and affect almost ninety-percent of the global population. In some cases, pneumococcal infections can also develop acute sinus infections as well as a middle ear infection. It is a life-taking disease and is responsible for most deaths of children under the age of two to five. This occurs because children or babies under the age of two to five have a very poor immune system. Nevertheless, pneumonia vaccine for babies is available which prevents pneumococcal related bacteria entering a baby’s body.
Pneumococcal Disease Symptoms and Complications
Pneumonia is the most common lung infection in most babies as well as adults. The symptoms are as follows:
- Experiencing extreme pain in the chest.
- High fever with chills and headache.
- Difficulty in breathing normally or comfortably.
- Neck pain or stiff neck
- Low energy levels and attentiveness.
- Feeling disoriented and confused.
- Feeling sleepy most of the time due to extreme pain in muscles and tiredness.
Pneumococcal infections can lead to:
- Pneumococcal bacteremia
- Otitis media
Importance of Pneumonia Vaccine
Contagious diseases are increasing rapidly around the world, as the population grows and climate changes. Newer forms of bacteria and viruses have invaded the human body over the past few years. However, there are still distinct bacteria and viruses which have repeatedly affected the human population over the years of civilization.
Pneumococcal diseases are also contagious and affect every nation. The last WHO study showing the global affected statistics represents more than 700,000 children who died of pneumococcal infections in the year 2017. All these children were below the age of five. Pneumococcal infections occur in children mostly because they suffer from under-nutrition. Children under the age of five are prone to these diseases because they have weaker immune systems which are still developing. Therefore, under-nutrition children are more likely to get sick than healthy and nutritious children.
You can also get infected by pneumococcal bacteria even after getting vaccinated. Yet, taking the pneumonia vaccine decreases the chance of catching an infection. There can be many who can be allergic to the composition/ingredients of a pneumococcal vaccine; therefore you must always consult your doctor before taking the vaccine.
Pneumonia also affects elder people usually above the age of 60-65. It can attack anybody that has a weak immune system. Pneumonia vaccines have always helped children and elders to prevent pneumococcal related infections and diseases. When taken at the right time, it has a higher chance of preventing the germs from entering the body. Nonetheless, there are also many side effects of the vaccines but it is temporary.
Pneumonia Vaccine Cost
Pneumonia vaccine has different pricing in different countries. For example, a shot of a pneumococcal vaccine can cost around 1200inr in India, whereas it costs around $170 to $180 in the United States of America. This vague difference in pricing is designed by pharmaceutical companies. Companies like Pfizer can decide the price for any given vaccine and they can raise the price as much as they want to due to their monopoly in the industry. In the U.S.A., a full pediatric course involves a total of four shots. Every child must be vaccinated in 2, 4, 6 and their 15th month respectively. So, for each course, it can cost around $680 to $740 for every American child.
In India, many pharmaceutical companies supply pneumococcal vaccines throughout the country and each shot can cost around 1000inr to 4000inr depending on the company. India has lower pricing rates for children immunization, but still, there are hundreds of people who are unable to financially support their children’s healthcare. Many remote communities in India receive very poor healthcare facilities from the government and receive the cheapest medicines, vaccinations, and treatments which often are manufactured by poor pharmaceutical companies.
Africa is one of the most affected areas of pneumococcal complications and diseases. The recent rise in the price of vaccinations in Africa has affected many families who are now unable to immunize their children. From $1.30 per shot to a shocking rise of $39 per shot; Africans now face even more financial difficulty in immunizing their children.
Pneumococcal Diseases in Children and Immunization
Pneumococcal disease is the most common source of infection in children all over the world. The Streptococcus group of bacteria is very contagious. They are responsible for many chronic diseases and infections in adults as well as children. Even your child can get affected if he/she has had any contact with Streptococcus contaminated object, food and environment.
Streptococcus bacteria can contaminate air molecules making them moist and contagious. Children under the age of five to six are still developing their immune systems. To enhance this development, a child must be backed up by immunizations. Immunization helps the child’s immune system to fight the infections caused by foreign bodies and antigens. It is not lifetime protection, but it acts as a boost for the immune system to be strong and defensive towards germs and antigens that invade our body every day.
There are mainly two vaccines for pneumococcal immunization. These are:
PCV13 vaccine protects the immune system from the most thirteen common types of pneumococcal infections. This vaccine is for kids and it helps to protect the child from pneumonia complications.
PPSV23 vaccine protects and immunizes the system from the twenty-three types of pneumococcal infections. This vaccine not only helps to immunize but it also prevents the infection from spreading.
The pneumococcal vaccination consists of four shots. Every baby must take their first pneumonia vaccine shot when they are two months of age. You need the second shot after four months. The third shot at six months and then the final shot at 10-15 months. Doctors will be able to understand the accurate time for the baby’s immunization schedules.
Pneumonia Vaccine Schedule: Adults
Despite children being the most affected by pneumococcal infections, adults can have pneumococcal infections too. Every year thousands of adults die of pneumococcal complications. Many adults also get hospitalized every year for pneumococcal infections. Adults should not neglect their health condition and should consult physicians and doctors for further information.
The two pneumococcal vaccines PCV13 and PPSV23 are essential for adults who are seeking immunizations. Many adults over 19 years of age develop certain health conditions. These conditions can be chronic diseases like HIV or cancer which weaken the immune system. In such cases, adults can consult their doctor for pneumococcal immunization.
Adults over the age of sixty to sixty-five also suffer from weakening of the immune system as the body ages. This aging of the body and weakening of the immune system makes the person vulnerable to pneumococcal disease. Adults can also have meningitis and bacteremia. This is when adults get hospitalized for pneumococcal infections and can even lead to death in some cases.
Adults aged more than sixty-three should never receive PCV13 and PPSV23 shots on the same day. The first dose of PPSV23 vaccine should be administered after exactly a year from the first dose of PCV13 vaccine.
Adults aged more than nineteen years with certain immunocompromising conditions may administer a dose of the PCV13 vaccine. PPSV23 vaccine must be taken after 8 weeks from the previous PCV13 shot. Sometimes doctors also recommend taking PPSV23 vaccine shots every five years for less chance of developing an infection.
Pneumonia Vaccine Side Effects
You should always remember that every doctor knows the possible side effects of a drug that they prescribe to you. To ensure that your body is immune from certain bacteria and viruses, doctors will schedule vaccinations for the betterment of the immune system.
The PPSV23 vaccine is most common where adults and children can show the same symptoms. These symptoms are as follows:
- Many individuals can face injection site infections. It means the area where the injection was inserted may show some reactions like redness, swelling, irritation, pain, forming of a hard lump and tenderness.
- It affects the muscular system causing pain in joints and muscles. Therefore, natural movements can trigger pain.
- Individuals can also get fever usually accompanied by chills. The surface of the skin may become very sensitive and react to the usual touch as immense pain.
- You can also experience severe headaches and nausea which can make you feel very dizzy and tired.
- Some may also vomit after their shot.
- Stiffness in arms or legs, wherever the injection was inserted.
- You may also notice skin rashes and feel weak and exhausted most of the time.
You should consult a doctor timely for your immunization schedules. Also, don’t forget to tell him/her about your history of infection with the drug if you have one.
History of Pneumonia Vaccine
The first person ever to coordinate a whole-cell pneumococcal vaccine was Sir Almroth Wright. This coordination took place between the years 1911-1912. He was responsible for starting many events that educated and sensitized people about pneumococcal infections. He conducted many clinical and public health camps to mark the importance of the vaccine in those days.
Another scientist named Franz Neufeld discovered pneumococcal typing systems which led to the serotype-specific whole-cell vaccine. With the constant efforts and discoveries by Alphonse Dochez, Oswald Avery, Colin Macleod, Michael Heidelberger, Robert Austrian and many more, pneumococcal diseases have been researched for more than a century. It is because of these geniuses; today we have such vaccination and immunization systems that save a lot of lives every year globally.
Due to these people, scientists today have found out better vaccinations for pneumococcal diseases. There are vaccines today that reduce the chance of catching a pneumococcal infection and protect the body from these bacteria for a lifetime. However, adults with immunocompetent systems require more doses throughout their lifetime.
How is the Pneumonia Vaccine Affecting the Global Population?
Today, the whole world knows about the pneumococcal bacteria and how it can affect their health. This awareness is saving many lives. People, who have had their pneumococcal vaccination in their early ages of childhood, develop strong immune systems which help them fight different serotypes of pneumococcal disease.
On the other hand, the rise in pollution and population is also affecting people in terms of invasive diseases. Places are getting more crowded and the atmosphere is becoming congested day by day. The change in the global climate has also lead to a serious rise in invasive diseases.
Keeping all the discoveries and achievements aside, adults and children die of pneumococcal related diseases even today. This includes third-world countries where medicinal facilities and healthcare is very poor. It is also prevalent in first-world countries like the United States of America and Russia where more than a million individuals die every year due to pneumococcal related diseases and complications.
Nonetheless, immunization is necessary and must be prioritized for the future of any child. Most children and adults usually show very fewer side-effects of the vaccination and it helps them to recover from diseases fast and keeps their immune system strong and responsive. Call your doctor for an appointment today to know more about the bacteria and discuss to arrange vaccination schedules.