There are two types of vaccines available for prevention of pneumococcal pneumonia. The first is pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide vaccine, used for vaccination of adults and the second pneumococcal vaccine is protein conjugated pneumococcal vaccine, used for immunizing children.
Pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide vaccine is in use since 1980s and is made from capsular polysaccharides of 23 serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae which are most prevalent in any community. The vaccine found to be effective in several studies, although the effect decreases with age of the immunized individual and also time from vaccination (the effectiveness of vaccine decreases slowly 5 years after administering the vaccine).
Who should get vaccinated with pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide vaccine?
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following individuals to be vaccinated with pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide vaccine:
- All individuals aged more then 2 years (two) who are at risk of pneumococcal infection or at risk of developing complication.
- Individuals who underwent spleen removal or have anatomical abnormality in spleen.
- Persons of more then 65 years of age.
- Immunocompromised persons such as multiple myeloma, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, HIV infection, undergone any organ transplantation, individuals who use glucocorticoid regularly etc.
- Individuals with diabetes, chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, CSF leakage, cirrhosis, chronic alcoholics, persons with chronic renal insufficiency etc.
- Health care professionals.
- Native Americans and Native Alaskans in USA, as they are at increased risk of developing pneumococcal pneumonia due to genetic predisposition.
Unfortunately the pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide vaccine may not work in the individuals, who need it most, AIDS patients and patients of lymphoma, due to poor IgG responses.
What is the recommendation schedule of vaccine?
The pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide vaccine is recommended in the above mentioned individuals every five years, as the antibody levels decline with time. Although some recommends getting only single booster vaccine after five years.