The pneumococcal vaccine (or ‘pneumo jab’ or pneumonia vaccine as it’s also known) protects against pneumococcal infections.
Pneumococcal infections are caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae and can lead to pneumonia, septicaemia (a kind of blood poisoning) and meningitis.
Who should have the pneumococcal vaccine?
A pneumococcal infection can affect anyone. However, some people need the pneumococcal vaccination because they are at higher risk of complications. These include:
- all children under the age of two
- adults aged 65 or over
- children and adults with certain long-term health conditions, such as a serious heart or kidney condition.
How often is the pneumococcal vaccine given?
Babies receive the pneumococcal vaccine as three separate injections, at 2 months, 4 months and 12-13 months.
People over 65 only need a single pneumococcal which will protect for life. It is not given annually like the flu jab.
People with a long term health condition may need just a single one-off pneumococcal vaccination or five-yearly vaccination depending on their underlying health problem.