The pneumococcal vaccine protects against serious and potentially fatal pneumococcal infections. It’s also known as the pneumonia vaccine.Pneumococcal infections are caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae and can lead to pneumonia, septicaemia (a kind of blood poisoning) and meningitis. At their worst, they can cause permanent brain damage, or even kill.
The type of pneumococcal vaccine you’re given depends on your age and health. There are 2 types. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) is used to vaccinate children under 2 years old as part of the NHS Vaccination Schedule. It’s known by the brand name Prevenar 13.
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) is given to people aged 65 and over and people at high risk because they have long-term health conditions.
Both types of pneumococcal vaccine encourage your body to produce antibodies against pneumococcal bacteria.
Antibodies are proteins produced by the body to neutralise or destroy disease-carrying organisms and toxins. They protect you from becoming ill if you’re infected with the bacteria.