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 and the HSE outline the persons for whom vaccination is recommended on their website. The Boots vaccination service refers to the Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23) and is offered to adults aged 18 years and over.
In adults the vaccination is recommended for everybody aged 65 years and over and for persons aged 18 and over with:
• Chronic lung, heart or liver disease
• Chronic neurological disease
• Down Syndrome
• Coeliac disease*
• Chronic renal disease or nephrotic syndrome*
• Cochlear implants or are about to get cochlear implants*
• Immune deficiency because of a disease or treatment, including cancer patients*
• HIV infection*
• Absent spleen or a non-functioning spleen*
• Complement deficiency*
• CSF leaks, either congenital or complicating skull fractures or neurosurgery*
• Intracranial shunt*
• Persons who smoke**
• Those with alcohol dependence**
• Those who are exposed to metal fumes through their work (i.e. welders)**
*Some patients require vaccination with the pneuomoccal conjugate vaccine (PCV) before receiving PPV23. Note that PCV vaccination is not available as part of this service so such patients will be referred to an alternate location for vaccination (e.g. GP).
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 can I access the vaccination service?
To avail of the vaccination service, simply phone or call into your local Boots pharmacy and a member of the pharmacy team will check your eligibility and arrange an appointment for a time that's convenient for you.
The cost of this service is €51.
• 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
• 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.
Vaccination service subject to availability. Selected stores only. Charges apply. Ask your Boots pharmacist for details. Eligibility criteria applies.