Pneumococcus (Streptococcus pneumoniae) is a bacterium causes a wide range of respiratory and generalized infections in children. It includes otitis media (middle ear infection) bronchitis, invasive pneumococcal diseases (IPD) such as pneumonia (chest infection), septicaemia (bacteria in the blood stream) and meningitis (infection of brain membranes), which may be severe and life-threatening. In Hong Kong, the incidence of IPD ranges from 1.7 to 2.9 per 100,000 population from 2007 to 2015. The bacteria can colonize in the nose and throat in children and the disease spreads mainly through respiratory droplets.
Young children, the elderly, immunocompromised patients, patients with cochlear implants, patients with chronic illness (eg Diabetes Mellitus) and past history of IPD are considered high risk groups.
The disease can be treated with antibiotics. However, there is emergence of drug-resistant strains which have made the disease more difficult to treat. Pneumococcal pneumonia is also recognized as an important co-infection of Influenza.
There are over 90 different serotypes of Pneumococcus. The 13-valent vaccine (Prevenar 13) is a conjugate vaccine that is suitable for young children (<2 years old), high risk patients (2 years old or above) and the elderly (65 years old or above). The 23-valent vaccine (Pneumovax 23) is a polysaccharide vaccine. It covers an additional 10 serotypes that are not covered by Prevenar 13. Vaccine authorities now recommend the 23 valent vaccine for high risk group patients as it has a broader coverage of serotypes. However the 23-valent vaccine is not suitable for infants and young children. The vaccines are given in 1 to 4 doses depending on the age of recipient and individual vaccine history. Please consult our doctors for details.
Common side effects (>10 percent): local vaccination-site reactions (swelling redness, redness and tenderness), fever, decreased appetite, tiredness, irritability
Other serious side effects (<0.1 percent): rare, seizure, severe hypersensitivity reactions
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