Pneumococcal Vaccination
(Pneumonia Vaccine)

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What is pneumococcal vaccination?

Pneumococcal vaccination is a method of preventing a specific type of lung infection (pneumonia) that is caused by the pneumococcus (Streptococcus pneumoniae) bacterium. There are more than 80 different types of pneumococcus bacteria -- 23 of them covered by the vaccine. The vaccine is injected into the body to stimulate the normal immune system to produce antibodies that are directed against pneumococcus bacteria.

This method of stimulating the normal immune system to be directed against a specific microbe is called immunization. Pneumococcal vaccination is also referred to as pneumococcal immunization.

Pneumococcal vaccination does not protect against pneumonia caused by microbes other than pneumococcus bacteria, nor does it protect against pneumococcal bacterial strains not included in the vaccine. It is reassuring to note that of the 80 different serotypes, the vast majority of infections are caused by the 23 serotypes contained in the vaccine.

In children, especially under 2 years of age, a special conjugated vaccine has been developed to stimulate less developed immune systems. Originally only covering seven serotypes, the newer vaccine released in 2010 now covers 13 serotypes of pneumococcus (Prevnar 13).

Who should consider pneumococcal vaccination?

Pneumococcal vaccination should be considered by people in the following groups:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/26/2015

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Pneumonia Symptoms & Signs

Symptoms and signs of pneumonia may be mild or severe and depend upon someone's overall state of health as well as the type of organism causing the pneumonia. Severe symptoms include

  • cough,
  • chest pain when breathing or coughing,
  • labored breathing or shortness of breath,
  • coughing up phlegm,
  • fever,
  • chills.