Due to their ability to stop the spread of infectious illnesses, vaccines are a vital part of protecting the public’s health. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccination (PCV) defends against a particular strain of bacteria that can result in severe infections like pneumonia (lung infection) and pneumococcal meningitis (infection of the tissue lining the brain and spinal cord). Little children, elderly persons, and people with chronic illnesses are all susceptible to possibly severe sickness as a result of these infections. Although the PCV vaccine is generally safe and effective, side effects are possible with all treatments. To decide whether or not to receive the PCV vaccine, it is crucial to be aware of any possible side effects. Vaccines are a crucial component of public health, and in the vast majority of cases, the advantages of immunization outweigh the hazards. To be ready for any side effects that may arise, it is crucial to be informed of the potential consequences. In addition to addressing who should and should not receive each form of pneumococcal vaccine, this article will also examine possible PCV vaccine side effects.
A particular kind of bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae is the culprit behind pneumococcal illness. Children are most likely to have it, while older persons or people with chronic diseases may also experience serious problems. The pneumococcal bacterium is contagious and can spread from person to person. The most common way for this to happen is by direct contact with saliva or mucus from the respiratory system. The development of a pneumococcal infection can result in a number of illnesses, some of which are life-threatening, including Pneumonia, Meningitis, sinus infections, middle ear infections (otitis media), and bloodstream infections (bacteremia). As a result, vaccination is suggested. Two kinds of vaccines help prevent pneumococcal diseases. The first is Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccines (PCV13, PCV15, and PCV20); and the latter is Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPSV23). In the following sections, we’ll look more thoroughly at these types of pneumococcal vaccines and the potential side effects of PCVs.
Potential PCV Side Effects
Because the vaccine contains no live bacteria, catching a pneumococcal illness is impossible. Although the pneumococcal vaccine is quite safe, it does have certain negative effects, as do all immunizations. The majority of PCV vaccination side effects are mild, and allergic responses and other more severe side effects are uncommon. We will look at the potential negative effects of PCV immunization in babies, older children, and adults in the following.
- In Babies: In babies, the Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) has mild adverse effects, including a decreased appetite, a moderately increased fever, irritability, redness, and swelling at the injection site, and feeling sleepy or not sleeping well. A high body temperature, which could result in convulsions (febrile seizures), and allergic reactions, such as an itchy skin rash, are among the serious adverse effects of the PCV vaccine in babies.
- In Older Children and Adults: In older children and adults, the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) has a few minor adverse effects, such as a significantly high fever and mild discomfort or hardness at the injection site that lasts for one to three days. Adults and older children who receive the PCV vaccine rarely experience more severe side effects, including allergic reactions.
Allergic Reactions to PCV
A kid or adult may experience a severe adverse reaction after receiving either form of pneumococcal immunization. This is called an anaphylactic reaction, which can result in life-threatening breathing issues. Rare but dangerous side effects like anaphylaxis might occur shortly after receiving an injection. It’s frightening at the time, but it’s treatable with adrenaline. The medical professional administering the vaccine will have received training in the management of anaphylactic reactions. Both kids and adults can fully recover if they receive therapy right away. If you detect any strange symptoms in your infant or yourself after getting vaccinated, contact your doctor immediately.
Swelling or redness at the injection site, which are the most typical side effects in infants and young children, typically subside in a few days, so there’s no need to take any action. Keep your child cool if he or she develops a fever. Give them cool beverages and make sure they are not wearing too many blankets or layers of clothing. As directed on the package, you can also administer a dose of infant paracetamol or ibuprofen liquid. Of course, if the symptoms worsen, call your doctor right away.
Types of PCVs
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized three different kinds of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) for use in the United States.
- PCV13 (Prevnar 13®): This vaccine is administered to children aged 2, 4, 6, and 12 to 15 months, as well as to older children who require it. The vaccination protects against 13 different forms of pneumococcal bacteria, which can cause deadly illnesses in both children and adults.
- PCV15 (Vaxneuvance®): This vaccine is administered to children aged 2, 4, 6, and 12 to 15 months, as well as to older children who require it. Those 65 years of age and older, as well as other adults who require it, are also given this vaccine by doctors. With 15 different forms of pneumococcal bacteria that frequently result in serious illnesses in adults, this vaccination helps protect against them.
- PCV20 (Prevnar 20®): Adults 65 years of age or older and other individuals who require it receive this vaccination from doctors. The vaccination protects against 20 different forms of pneumococcal bacteria, which are usually responsible for serious illnesses in adults.
Each of the aforementioned vaccinations has pros and cons of its own. Even though they aid in the prevention of diseases brought on by various pneumococcal bacteria, one downside of PCVs is their high cost, which developing nations cannot afford. With their cutting-edge technologies, companies like OBP have begun manufacturing PCV biosimilar vaccines, which no longer have the major drawbacks of biological vaccines, and let all nations benefit from such vaccines.
Those Can Get PCV
Anyone can contract a pneumococcal infection, but some people are more susceptible to developing a serious illness. These people include infants under 2 years old, adults 65 and older, and children or adults ages 2 to 64 who have certain chronic health conditions, such as a serious heart or kidney condition that increases their risk of contracting a pneumococcal infection. Pneumococcal vaccination is given to infants twice: at 12 weeks and 1 year of age. The pneumococcal vaccine is only required once for anyone over the age of 65. Unlike the flu shot, this vaccination is not administered every year. Depending on your underlying medical condition, you could only require a single, one-time pneumococcal vaccination or one every five years if you have a long-term health condition.
Those Shouldn’t Get PCV
The pneumococcal vaccine may need to be postponed or avoided entirely on occasion for you or your child. If you fall into any of the following categories, meaning those who have vaccine sensitivity, those who have a high fever during the vaccination procedure, and those who are during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, you should reconsider having the vaccine.
- Vaccine Sensitivity: If you or your kid has ever experienced a negative reaction to a vaccination, let your doctor know right away. You might not be able to receive the pneumococcal vaccine if there has been a documented severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to any of its components. Yet the vaccine is typically safe to receive if there is only a little adverse reaction.
- Fever at the Vaccination Procedure: The vaccine is safe to receive even if you or your child has a minor illness at the time of administration. However, if you or your kid is very ill (for example, with a fever and feeling hot and shivery), it is preferable to postpone the immunization until you or your child has recovered.
- Breastfeeding and Becoming Pregnant: Getting the pneumococcal vaccine during pregnancy and while breastfeeding is regarded to be safe. But, unless the advantages of receiving the vaccine outweigh the hazards to your unborn child, you might choose to wait until after giving birth if you’re pregnant.
Children, elderly persons, and people with chronic illnesses are at risk for developing potentially fatal illnesses from pneumococcal disease. To protect against pneumococcal illness, there are two vaccines available. The age and health of the person receiving the immunization determine which vaccine is administered. Children can be protected from life-threatening diseases like meningitis and pneumonia with the safe and efficient PCV vaccine. Although it is normally safe, some individuals may experience minor side effects like a sore arm, fever, and fussiness that go away in a few days. More serious adverse effects, such as a strong allergic reaction, may occur in very rare circumstances. It is critical to consult your doctor if you or your kid have any unexpected symptoms following the PCV vaccination. Parents can help protect their children from these infections by adhering to the recommended vaccination schedule.