It is now recommended that everybody over the age of 65 should be immunised to protect against pneumococcal infection, which can cause diseases such as pneumonia, septicaemia (blood poisoning) and meningitis. People with certain chronic conditions such as a weakened immune system as a result of disease or treatment (e.g. chemotherapy) or who do not have a spleen are also at greater risk of infection.
In people aged 65 years and over, pneumococcal disease affects around two people in 1,000, and this increases to four in 1,000 among the over 80’s.
The bacteria (germs) that cause pneumococcal disease are spread by coughing, sneezing or close contact between people. The bacteria gets into the nose and throat and they may stay there without doing any harm, but sometimes they can invade the lungs or bloodstream causing pneumonia and septicaemia, or they can reach the brain and cause meningitis.
Most people will only need to have the vaccine ONCE; however you may need a second dose if you have certain condition such as: a damaged spleen or no spleen, or problems with your kidneys. It can also be given at anytime of the year.
If you have not had the pneumococcal immunisation and fall into the categories above, please make an appointment in the Treatment Room.