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Pneumococcal Disease

What is Pneumococcal Disease?

This is a bacterial disease which commonly causes throat and ear infection. It can lead to serious invasive disease namely chest infection and meningitis in some patients.

What causes Pneumococcal Disease?

The organism responsible is Streptococcal pneumoniae or pneumococcus which lives in the lining of the nose and throat of many healthy people (namely carriers). The bacteria can spread by cough and direct contact.

What is the vaccine and how is it given?

The earlier vaccine is pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine PPV which contains 23 purified capsular antigens. The newer pneumococcal conjugate vaccine PCV contains 7 purified capsular polysaccharides each conjugated with a non-active diphtheria toxin to enhance the vaccine effectiveness. Polysaccharides are complex sugars present as part of the bacteria. The vaccine should be given by injection into the muscle.

Schedule to follow the vaccine company recommendations.

Who should receive the vaccine?

Parents may choose to vaccine their healthy infants. This vaccine is also recommended to those children with reduced host defenses including those whose spleen has been removed for a particular reason, for example in thalassaemia (chronic blood disorder) patients.

Last reviewed : 25 April 2012
Content Writer : Dato’ Dr. Jimmy Lee Kok Foo
Reviewer : Dr. Ranjini S. Sivanesom