Pneumococcal diseases, caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae, are serious infections that can have a debilitating impact on your health. The bacteria are spread person-to-person through contact with respiratory secretions such as mucus or saliva (coughing or sneezing). The main illness is known as Pneumococcal Pneumonia (pneumonia); however, complications such as meningitis and blood infections may also occur. Almost anyone can catch pneumonia, given the right circumstances, and while many healthy adults may not have to worry about catching pneumonia, there are certain groups of people who are at an increased risk for developing pneumonia. Children younger than 2 years of age are at risk because their immune systems are still developing, and adults ages 65 or older are also at risk because their immune systems may not be as strong as they once were.
- To protect children, routine vaccination is a 4-dose series, beginning at the age of 2 months and completed between 12-15 months of age. This routine vaccination utilizes the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13), also known by the name of Prevnar 13.
For those who 65 years of age or older, new recommendations from the CDC suggests a 2-dose series consisting of the previously mentioned Prevnar 13, and the Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPSV23), also known as Pneumovax 23.
- At age 65, one dose of Prevnar 13 is recommended. 1 year after receiving the Prevnar 13, a dose of Pneumovax 23 is recommended. This 2-dose series after age 65 will complete the pneumococcal immunization series.
For people between the ages of 19 and 64 with one of the follow conditions, one dose of the Pneumovax 23 should be administered.
- Chronic heart disease, not including hypertension
- Chronic lung disease, such as COPD, emphysema, or asthma
- Individuals who smoke cigarettes
Vaccinations against pneumococcal diseases can be provided at the pharmacy without a prescription. Most insured patients may receive these vaccines with little to no-copay. We understand that these recommendations may be confusing; however the pharmacists at Richmond Hill Pharmacy and Hinesville Pharmacy are up-to-date on current vaccine recommendations and will take the time to make sure that you are also up-to-date on any you may need and answer any questions you may have.
Richmond Hill Pharmacy: 912-756-3331. Pharmacy hours are 8:30 am – 7:00 pm on weekdays; 9:00 am – 6:00 pm on Saturday; and 12:30 – 5:00 pm on Sunday.