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Pneumococcal Vaccine

Pneumococcal Vaccine

Fortune’s Pharmacy provides a Pneumococcal Vaccine service to adults aged 18 years and over.  Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by a type of bacteria known as Streptococcus pneumoniae.  It is responsible for pneumonia (an infection of the lungs) and bacteremia (bacteria in the blood).  It can also cause meningitis, middle ear infection, bronchitis and sinusitis.  In recent years this bacteria is becoming resistant to antibiotics meaning that prevention of infection through vaccination is becoming increasingly important.  The vaccine is a very effective way to protect against pneumococcal disease but it may not prevent it in all individuals.

Pneumococcal disease can cause serious illness in the very young, the very old, those with a very low immune system, or those with no spleen or a spleen that is not working properly.  Pneumococcal disease is contracted by coming into contact with infected droplets from someone who either has, or is carrying, it.  Pneumococcal disease is more common during the Winter months.

Vaccination with Pneumococcal Polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) is recommended for all adults over the age of 65 as well as children over the age of 2 and all other adults who are at an increased health risk.  Children under the age of 2 receive a different Pneumococcal vaccine as part of the childhood vaccination programme.

Who should be vaccinated with Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine?

The vaccine is recommend for all those aged 65 and over and those between the ages of 2 and 65 with the following medical risks

  • No spleen or a spleen that is not working properly
  • Children aged under 5 with a history of pneumococcal disease
  • Chronic heart, breathing or liver disease
  • Chronic kidney disease of nephrotic syndrome
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • HIV infection
  •  A suppressed immune system due to illness or treatment
  • People who have received or are about to receive cochlear implants
  • People who have had a solid organ transplant or who have received a haematopoietic stem cell transplant
  • Down syndrome
  • Intracranial shunt
  • Leakage of cerebrospinal fluid due to a skull fracture or surgery
  • Complement deficiency

In addition, the vaccine is also recommended for smokers, alcoholics and those with exposure to metal fumes (for example, welders).

This year Fortune’s Pharmacy will be providing the pneumococcal vaccine as a private service.  In future years it is hoped that the service will be fully funded by the Health Services Executive (HSE) as part of the national vaccination programme.

Unlike the flu vaccine which needs to be given every year, the Pneumococcal vaccine only needs to be given once or twice in your lifetime (some people will need a third dose).  This depends on your age, if and when you have had the vaccine before, and your health status.  The vaccine does not contain any live bacteria and cannot cause pneumococcal disease.  Our pharmacist will be able to give you further advice.

What is involved

One of our trained pharmacists will administer your vaccine in the privacy of our consultation area.  Our pharmacist will explain the process to you and will answer any questions you may have.  The vaccine will be given by injection into a muscle in your upper arm / shoulder area.  You should wear something appropriate so that we can gain easy access to this area.  Vaccination will not proceed if you are unwell with a temperature of over 38°C or if, following consultation with our pharmacist, there are any other reasons for you not to receive it.  After you get the vaccine, we recommend that you remain in the pharmacy for 15 minutes.  This allows us to monitor you for signs of anaphylaxis.  Anaphylaxis is a rare but serious side effect of all vaccines.

We need to get the consent of a parent or guardian for patients aged under 16 years.

We also provide a flu and shingles vaccination service.

Further Information

This service is on hold at the moment due to a worldwide shortage of vaccine.  We will update when we are providing this service again.