Pneumococcal Disease and Types of Pneumococcal Infections
Pneumococcal Infection is a major global health concern. It is an infection caused by a strain of bacteria known as Streptococcus pneumoniae. The far-reaching impacts of pneumococcal disease include infection of the lungs (pneumonia), brain (meningitis), ear (otitis media), blood (bacteremia) and other life-threatening conditions. While these conditions can disrupt your daily life in profound ways, the encouraging news is that they can be prevented through vaccination.
Transmission and Risk Factors for Pneumococcal Infections
Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus, can be found commonly in the nose and throat. The bacteria can be transmitted through:
- contact to droplets from an infected person through coughing or sneezing,
- objects contaminated with infected droplets.
People with the following conditions have a higher risk of becoming severely ill from a pneumococcal infection:
- Infants and Young Children
- Adults over the age of 65
- Individuals with chronic lung disease (eg. emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma)
- Individuals with chronic liver disease
- Individuals with chronic kidney disease
- Individuals with other chronic medical disease (eg. Diabetes)
- Individuals with decreased immune function from disease (eg. HIV, asplenia, sickle cell disease)
- Individuals with decreased immune function from medications
The Importance of Pneumococcal Vaccine
While pneumococcal diseases can usually be treated with antibiotics, recent challenges have arisen due to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains. This phenomenon has rendered treatment increasingly difficult.
Furthermore, the disease caused by pneumococcus may be severe and life threatening. High risk groups may require prolonged stay in the hospital or even ICU treatment.
An effective strategy to curb antibiotic-resistant pneumococcus is to tackle the issue at its origin by opting for pneumococcal vaccines.
Recommended Groups for Pneumococcal Vaccine
All children below 5 years old and elderly aged 65 and above are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.
These high risk groups of individuals are strongly advised to consult your doctor on the appropriate vaccines and dosages to receive:
- Individuals aged 18 and above with chronic medical conditions like diabetes, chronic lung, heart, liver and kidney disease
- Immunocompromised individuals
- Individuals with cochlear implants
- Individuals with cerebrospinal fluid leak
- Individuals with asplenia (both physical and functional)
- Individuals with sickle cell disease
- Individuals with coeliac syndrome
What to expect for your Pneumococcal Vaccine
The best part is that getting vaccinated for pneumococcus is usually a quick process, typically taking less than 30 minutes.
Some common side effects are soreness, redness, or swelling around the site of injection, slight headache, fever and body aches or tiredness. These side effects usually resolve themselves within 2 to 3 days. However, it is important to note that individual response to the vaccine can vary.
Where to Get Your Pneumococcal Vaccine
All Singaporeans (Citizens and PR) can utilise their Medisave to offset the remaining costs after subsidy. Find out more about subsidies and other vaccine-preventable diseases here.
Book an appointment with any CHAS Minmed clinic here.
Vaccination with Minmed Clinics
At Minmed Clinics, safeguarding your health is our top priority. We offer both pneumococcal vaccines, PCV13 and PPSV23. We have a network of 22 conveniently located clinics spread across the heartlands of Singapore so that you can have your healthcare needs met anytime. Check out our clinic locations here. And if convenience is what you’re looking for, explore our ‘skip the queue’ feature in the minmed connect app.
While you’re here, take advantage of our comprehensive range of vaccinations like the influenza vaccine, HPV vaccine, and flu jab. Take a step towards a stronger you and find out more about our range of vaccines here.
If you are in the mood for a first-class vaccination experience, drop by Minmed Wellness Collective @ Jewel Changi Airport for first-class healthcare at an economical price.