What is Pneumococcus?
Pneumococcus is a bacterium (germ) which can cause pneumonia, meningitis and some other infections. Pneumonia caused by pneumococcus occurs in about 1 in 1,000 adults each year. Pneumococcal infection can affect anybody. However, young children, older people and some other groups of people are at increased risk of developing a pneumococcal infection.
Who should be vaccinated?
Immunisation is strongly recommended for:
- People aged over 65
- All children over 2 months as part of the routine childhood immunisation schedule.
- Adults and children over 2 months old with a chronic disease, for example, diabetes, liver disease, asthma, heart disease
- People who have had their spleen removed
- Immunosuppressed people
- Residents of nursing homes
- Smokers and alcoholics
How often should I be vaccinated?
If you are over 65, you will only need a single injection - it does not need to be repeated.
A once only booster vaccination is recommended 5 years after the first vaccination for those:
- aged 65 years and older if they received the vaccine more than 5 years before and were less than 65 years of age at the time of the first dose;
- whose antibody levels are likely to decline rapidly eg: no spleen, immunosuppression.
A second dose of the vaccine is recommended 3 months after treatment if the first dose was given during chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Is the vaccine free of charge?
There is no charge for:
- Patients aged over 65
- High risk patients (patients with chronic disease, immunosuppressed patients or those who have had their spleen removed) who have a medical card
A charge of 25 euro applies to:
- High risk patients who do not have a medical card
- Carers (of high risk patients) who do not have a medical card
A charge of 30 euro applies to All other patient including medical card holders, who do not fall into the above categories.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: If I received the Pneumococcal vaccine at age 61, do I need another dose?
A: Yes, you should receive another dose when you are 66 years old.
Q: If I received the Pneumococcal vaccine at age 64, do I need another dose?
A: Yes, you should receive another dose when you are 69 years old.
Q: If I received the Pneumococcal vaccine at age 65, do I need another dose?
A: No, once you have had a dose on or after the age of 65, you do not need another one.
Q: Can I have the Pneumococcal vaccine at the same time as the seasonal influenza (flu) vaccine?
A: Yes, you can receive both vaccines at the same time.