Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pneumococcal Vaccines

What is this vaccine?
It's a vaccine used to protect children against diseases like pneumonia, brain infection, ear infection and blood infection caused by Strptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus).

Are there different types of pneumococcal vaccine?
Yes, Let's classify them according to ages when they're given.

1. For babies (less than 24 months)
Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) is sold as Prevenar 13 and Synflorix.
It is given starting 2 months old.
Prevenar 13 is made by Wyeth while Synflorix is made by GlaxoSmithKline.

2. For kids and adults(24 months and above)
Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPV) is sold as Pneumo 23.
It is given starting 24 months old onwards to adulthood.
Pneumo 23 is made by Sanofi Pasteur.

How are these given?
Intramuscularly or inside the muscle

What is the schedule?
1. PCV is given 3 primary shots and one booster shot starting at 2 months old.
Primary shots can be given as early as 2.3.4 months or 2,4,6 months. It ca also be given 1 month apart.
Booster shot can be given before 18 months.
 2. PPV is given at 24 months old then it can be boosted every 3-5 years depending on your child's needs.
3.Catch up immunization should be given if vaccine schedule is missed.

Does my kid need both kinds of pneumococcal vaccines?
Yes, and more especially if your baby has medical condition like asthma, sickle cell or diseases that would make your baby susceptible to pneumococcal infections.

What if my less than 24 months old infant was given Pneumo 23 by accident?
The worst possible thing that can happen to a baby given vaccine is NOTHING. No protection was stimulated by the vaccine. (The healthcare personnel made your baby cry for no purpose other than inflicting pain and taking your money.)

PCV has two brand names, what are their differences?
a. Prevenar 13 complete generic name is Pneumococcal 13-valent Conjugate Vaccine, Synflorix complete generic name is Pneumococcal polysaccharide and Non-Typeable Haemophilus influenza(NTHi) protein D conjugate vaccine.
b. Prevenar 13 has 13 serotypes while Synflorix has 10 serotypes.(Serotypes refer to the variation of the species of the pneumococcus. Or to simply put it, Prevnar 13 offers additional 3 points protection versus Synflorix.)
c. Prevenar 13 is recommended by Center for Disease Control while Synflorix is recommended by European Medicine Agency.
d. Prevenar 13 is more expensive than Synflorix. (In the Philippines)
*Whatever vaccine option chosen for babies, parents must be well informed.

What are common side effects of vaccine?
The most common side effects are redness, swelling and tenderness at the injection site, fever, decreased appetite, irritability, increased sleep, and decreased sleep.

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