Pneumococcal vaccines are designed to prevent pneumococcal disease, which is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae. It is administered through an injection into a muscle.
Pneumococcal disease encompasses various infections in different organs, including the lungs (pneumonia), ears (otitis media), brain (meningitis), bloodstream (bacteraemia), and other severe infections.
The symptoms of pneumococcal disease vary depending on the affected organ. They can range from mild, such as low-grade fever, cough, earache, and chest pain, to more severe symptoms like confusion or severe headaches.
There are two types of vaccines available:
1. Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13)
2. Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPSV23)
PCV13 vaccine protects against 13 strains of pneumococcal bacteria that are commonly associated with pneumococcal disease, while PPSV23 protects against 23 strains. Administering PCV13 before PPSV23 provides extended protection for selected patients compared to administering PPSV23 alone.
The following recommendations apply for pneumococcal vaccination:
1. All infants should receive two doses of PCV13 at ages 4 and 6 months, followed by a booster at 12 months. If children miss these doses, catch-up vaccinations can be administered until 59 months of age. Please refer to the Singapore National Childhood Immunization Schedule or consult your child’s doctor for more information.
2. Individuals aged 65 years and above should receive one dose each of PCV13 and PPSV23 to obtain lifelong protection.
3. For individuals aged 18 years and older with chronic illnesses like chronic lung, heart, kidney, or liver diseases, as well as diabetes mellitus, and those who are immunocompromised or have other medical conditions such as cochlear implants or cerebrospinal fluid leaks, or abnormal spleen function (including conditions like homozygous sickle cell disease and coeliac syndrome), it is advised to consult your doctor for specific recommendations regarding the number of doses and types of vaccines needed.
For individuals who are recommended to receive both PCV13 and PPSV23 vaccines and have not yet received any pneumococcal vaccine, it is recommended to administer PCV13 first, followed by PPSV23 after a year (or at least eight weeks apart) to enhance protection.
To schedule a pneumococcal vaccination appointment, please click below: