This vaccination is apparently not a compulsory vaccination in Malaysia. I read a little about it and when Ryan's paed recommended that he takes it, we did not have any second thought. When he mentioned it briefly to us, I don't think we quite understand the magnitude of the disease. Our thoughts were, if it is good and recommended by the paed, just get it done. Ryan just had his second dose of pneumococcal vaccination last week. Since the subject was brought up in my previous Rotavirus vaccination, I did a little bit more research and came up with the following facts which I hope would help parents who are considering this vaccination.
Pneumococcal (pronounced as New-m'COCKL) disease is a severe bacterial infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, also called pneumococcus. It may cause pneumonia, meningitis or a blood stream infection (bacteremia). This disease mostly strike children under age 5 and can lead to some of the worst childhood diseases. Kids under 2 years old are most at risk. These bugs live in the mucous lining of the nose and in the back of the throat, and when plentiful enough can cause an infection in the respiratory tract, middle ear, or sinus cavities.
Pneumonia - inflammatory illness of the lung
Meningitis - inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Potentially life threatening.
Bacteremia - blood infection with bacteria.
Pneumococcal bacteria are spread by close contact and through coughing and sneezing. Diseases such as meningitis and pneumonia can crop up within days of infection. Symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia usually include fever and chills with shaking or trembling, as well as chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, fatigue, and weakness. Nausea, vomiting, and headaches are also associated with pneumococcal pneumonia, but are less common.
It suffice to say that if our child is put in a day care centre and that he/she mixes freely with other children, he/she would be at a higher risk exposure and hence, making pneumococcal vaccination a MUST as soon as possible.
The routine schedule for pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is 4 doses, one dose at each of these ages:
Children who weren’t vaccinated at these ages can still get the vaccine. The number of doses needed depends on the child's age.
More information from this links:
- Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine
Honestly, after reading the facts, I am glad that Ryan is vaccinated. If your child is not, it could be a good time to give this vaccination a serious thought.