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Pneumonia Vaccine Side Effects

Pneumonia Vaccine Side Effects

Pneumonia, usually caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses, is an inflammatory condition of the lungs. The seriousness of this disease can be life-threatening. Hence, a vaccination as a precaution to pneumonia is given to children as well as adults. Let us have a detailed discussion of the side effects of this vaccine.
Kritika Parwani
Last Updated: May 30, 2018
Often, pneumonia is a result of a complication of some other disease, like flu. When a person inhales the germs that can cause pneumonia into the lungs, the immune system of the body is unable to prevent this from happening. These organisms, then multiply in small air sacs called alveoli. Further, pus and fluid fill these sacs, when the white blood cells attempt to attack this infection. The most common cause of bacterial pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Symptoms of pneumonia include shivering, fever, pain in the chest, shallow breathing, and excessive coughing. People who are at a high risk of contracting pneumonia, are mostly those older than 65 years of age and children below 2 years of age. Today, there are two vaccines available to prevent pneumococcal diseases - pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine, also known as PCV13 or Prevnar 13, is a liquid solution. 0.5 ml of this solution is injected into the muscle or under the skin. The vaccine is a part of the routine immunization schedule, for infants under 2 years of age.

The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is given to adults who are at an added risk of developing pneumonia. They include people over 65 years of age, people who have diabetes, or those with a chronic heart or lung infection.

If you are over 65 years of age, and it has been five years or more since the first dose of your vaccination, it is important to get vaccinated. This is because people who are over 65 years of age are thrice more prone to pneumonia than the others. Just like medicines, vaccines help as an antidote to the disease, however, they may have side effects too. They are as follows;

Side Effects at the Injection Site

Hard lump

Minor Side Effects

Mild fever
Tiredness and fatigue
Loss of appetite

Major Side Effects

Swollen glands
Skin rash and itching
Hives or skin inflammation
Swelling in the mouth and throat
Severe muscle or joint pain
Wheezing or difficulty in breathing
Behavioral changes
Hoarse voice
Weakness and headache
High or low temperature

In very rare cases, do vaccines have side effects like anaphylaxis (allergies). These side effects tend to subside on their own. Some might handle them well, whereas, some might not even face any side effects. However, if the side effects do not subside within a week, one must see a doctor.

Although the vaccine is considered safe, it is better if only the people who are at a risk of acquiring it, get vaccinated. Pneumonia can be a life-threatening condition, especially for elderly people, children and those with weak immune systems. Thus, it is better to take precautions in such cases. After all, these side effects may or may not occur and are far less, as compared to the symptoms of pneumonia.

Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.