Book your Private Pneumonia Vaccine with Peak Pharmacy!
Did you know you could get a vaccine to protect against Pneumonia?
Did you know that up to 1 in 100 people will be diagnosed with Pneumonia caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae every year? This is called Pneumococcal disease, or a Pneumococcal Infection!
Pneumonia is a serious illness. According to NHS Digital between 2015-2017 pneumonia killed an average of 29,500 people each year.
At a glance.....
How long is a course: Single dose
Booster doses: Not required
How it is given: Injection in the upper arm
Side Effects: Usually mild. Expect fevers and injection site reactions like redness, swelling and tenderness which usually settle after a few days.
Special groups e.g. Children: This vaccine can be administered to children from 2 years upwards.
Prices from: £30 – £75 depending on the product. Read on for further information.
Can you treat Pneumonia?
Pneumonia usually occurs after a prior illness, for example after a viral infection like influenza, which we often call the flu. Getting infected with a flu-like virus can make you 100 times more likely to get pneumonia, according to studies.
If you are unlucky and develop pneumonia your lungs will become inflamed. This inflammation could affect both lungs, or just one, but slowly your lungs will start filling with fluid. If left untreated, pneumonia can quickly lead to severe illness or death.
Because of the severity of pneumonia, the NHS has a selection of guidelines to help diagnose and decide treatment choices. Doctors commonly treat pneumonia using antibiotics and it may require hospital admission.
Fact: If you have previously suffered from pneumonia you are twice as likely to suffer pneumonia again compared to someone who hasn’t
Preventing Pneumococcal Disease
The Vaccines: There are two different types of vaccines available. In the UK some patients are vaccinated on the NHS against Pneumonia. These include patients who:
- Have cochlear implants
- Diabetes (tablet or insulin controlled)
- Chronic kidney disease
- Suffer from chronic breathing problems e.g. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Are over 65 years
- Were born after 2004 (childhood schedule)
- Have no spleen (Asplenia)
- Chronic heart disease
- Chronic liver disease
- Weakened immune system
- Or are at risk because of their occupation e.g. Welders.
Most of these patients will be given the Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPV-23) which provides moderate protection for around five years against 23 invasive strains of Pneumonia. The level of protection is usually highest in those who are fit and healthy, meaning those at greatest risk often produce a poor immune response.
Available in the UK there is another vaccine, one that is much newer, which is known as a Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV). Depending on the brand used this vaccine can help protect you against 13-20 strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae and just one dose is enough to cover you for life. PCV vaccination tends to produce better, longer-lasting results in all patients compared to the older PPV vaccine.
It is important to remember that no one will ever develop 100% immunity because of vaccination. On average the NHS suggests that the Pneumonia vaccine is between 50-70% effective at preventing Pneumonia.
How much does Pneumonia Vaccination Cost?
The pharmacist providing the service will recommend the most suitable product for you after your initial consultation. You may be offered both vaccines and if this is the case they will be done on separate occasions.
There are two different types of vaccines:
Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV-13 / PCV-20)
Prevenar 13 and Apexxnar 20
Dose: Single dose
Booster: Lifetime protection predicted
Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPV-23)
Dose: Single dose
Booster: 5 years of protection, but not usually boosted
Why have the vaccine? I’m healthy!
Every year up to 1 in 100 people develop pneumonia caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, and this includes people who are fit and healthy.
Unfortunately, some patients are at greater risk than others, as you will see in the table below, but importantly none of the at-risk NHS patient groups will be offered protection against pneumococcal disease with Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) except infants born since 2006.
|Risk (disease/condition)||Average Increased Risk Compared to Healthy Individuals|
|Age 45+||Risk increases with age|
|Concurrent Viral Illness eg Influenza||100x|
|Frequent Traveller||Depends on the destination. Hajj Pilgrimage in 2012 demonstrated a 2x risk increase|
|Previous Pneumococcal disease||2x|
|Chronic Respiratory Illness||9.8x|
The data shown above is average data acquired from Pfizer. The risk will vary between age groups with an elderly population usually suffering higher risk than those in age groups below 65.
How to prevent Pneumococcal Disease?
Pneumonia can develop on its own, or develop as a complication of a previous infection. The infection could be viral or bacterial. Frequently viral diseases like Influenza increase your risk of contracting bacterial pneumonia, this occurs because your immune system has been weakened by the other infection. Avoiding viral illnesses can reduce your risk of getting Pneumonia, so following simple guidance from Public Health England can protect yourself and others.
Steps include washing your hands regularly, sneezing or coughing into your arm or elbow and using tissues.
Aside from hand washing and sneezing into your elbow, you could also consider quitting smoking, improving your diet and exercising more frequently.
Who cannot be Vaccinated?
The great news is most people can have both Pneumonia vaccines, PPV and PCV. There are a few people who can’t however:
Those allergic to the vaccine, or have had allergies to other ingredients in the vaccine in the past
Those who are acutely unwell on the day of vaccination (with a fever)
Adverse Reactions to Pneumonia Vaccination
For most people side effects will be mild, and very similar to other vaccines that you might have had before. Both vaccines are very safe, but side effects do occur. In adults common side effects include:
Vomiting, diarrhoea, Headaches, Decreased appetite, Fatigue, Achy joints and muscles, Rashes, and Fever (high temperature) along with typical injection site reactions. These include redness, swelling and tenderness.
Young children can experience slightly different side effects to adults but generally, the side effects are very similar.
Protection from Flu
If it’s flu season, why not get both vaccines?
It has been proven that the risk of Pneumonia infection is significantly higher after a viral illness like influenza. Protect yourself from complications like bacterial pneumonia by getting the flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is usually available at all Peak Pharmacy branches from mid to late September every year. Just speak to one of our dedicated Flu Fighters to find out more!
How do I book an appointment?
Please phone your local Peak Pharmacy to enquire or ask about the pneumonia vaccine when you visit your pharmacy for the flu vaccination.