Pneumococcal Vaccination Service

Pneumococcal Vaccination Service logo

What is pneumococcal disease?

Pneumococcal disease is the term used to describe a range of illnesses caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bug such as pneumonia, septicaemia (blood poisoning) and meningitis (inflammation around the brain). Many people carry the bacteria in their nose and throat without causing any harm but sometimes the bacteria can invade the lungs and bloodstream.

The bacteria are spread from person to person by coughing, sneezing or close contact. Pneumococcal vaccination is not recommended for healthy adults (aged under 65 years) as they are at low risk of pneumococcal disease.

Who should get the pneumococcal vaccine?

There are two different pneumococcal vaccines available, our vaccine service refers to Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23).  In adults the vaccination is recommended for*:

  • Everybody aged 65 years and over
  • Adults aged 18 years and over with:
    • Diabetes mellitus
    • Chronic heart, respiratory or liver disease
    • Chronic renal disease, nephrotic syndrome, renal transplant
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Those with missing or non-functioning spleens
    • Disorders of the immune system including cancer
  • People receiving chemotherapy or other treatments that suppress the immune system
  • Persons with HIV infection or AIDS
  • Those who have received or are about to receive cochlear transplants
  • Persons who smoke**
  • Those with alcohol dependence**
  • Those who are exposed to metal fumes through their work (i.e. welders)**

Who should NOT get the pneumococcal vaccine?

You shouldn’t have the vaccine if you have had an allergic reaction to a previous dose or to any part of the vaccine.

I think I’ve had the vaccine before, do I need another one?

Most people will only need this vaccine once. However, re-vaccination is recommended for some people and this will depend on your age and if you have any risk factors.

Ask your pharmacist to check if you are recommended to get the pneumococcal vaccine. To ensure the vaccine is suitable for you at this time we will need to confirm your pneumococcal vaccine history with your doctor.

How do I avail of the vaccination service?

To avail of the vaccination service, simply phone or call in to your local Boots pharmacy and a member of the pharmacy team will check your eligibility and arrange an appointment for a time that is convenient for you.

The cost of this service is €29.

Customer advice

  • This vaccine protects against 23 types of pneumococcal disease including those most likely to cause severe disease and most people only need to receive the vaccine once
  • Most adults will be protected by the vaccine after 3 weeks
  • If you are aged under 65 years a booster vaccination (usually given 5 years after the first) may be recommended if you have a condition where your antibody levels are likely to decline rapidly e.g. no spleen, or a condition that weakens your immune system
  • You cannot get pneumococcal disease from the vaccine, as it does not contain live bacteria
  • The pneumococcal vaccine reduces the risk of getting severe forms of pneumococcal disease such as pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia

Side-effects

  • People can develop side-effects after a pneumococcal vaccination, although not everybody gets them
  • Very common side-effects include: soreness, pain, redness, warmth, swelling and hardening where the injection is given
  • Other side effects include: swelling, decreased mobility of the injected arm, feeling tired, generally unwell, uncontrollable shivering, feeling sick or being sick, enlarged and/or inflamed glands, pain, inflammation and swelling of the joints and muscle pains, headache and severe allergic reactions
  • Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness†. If this happens, we have procedures in place to deal with this condition
  • It’s important that you stay in store for 15 minutes after your vaccination, just in case you have any immediate side-effects

If you’re concerned about any aspects of your vaccination or about any side-effects, you should talk to one of our pharmacists.

†http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/anaphylaxis

*http://www.hse.ie/eng/health/immunisation/pubinfo/adult/pneumo/#Who is at risk of pneumococcal disease?

**http://www.hse.ie/eng/health/immunisation/hcpinfo/guidelines/chapter16.pdf

Vaccination service subject to availability. Selected stores only. Charges apply. Ask your Boots pharmacist for details. Eligibility criteria applies.