Blog: Do You Know Pneumo?

Protect Yourself from Pneumo – Get the Pneumococcal Vaccine

Pneumococcal disease, or pneumo, is a major cause of illness and death in Ireland. Pneumo can affect anyone at any time throughout the year, but we tend to see most cases during the winter months. Some people are more at risk of serious illness from pneumococcal disease.

The pneumococcal vaccine is your best protection against pneumococcal disease. The vaccine is available for anyone recommended to get the pneumococcal vaccine. You can get the vaccine at your GP practice.

The pneumococcal vaccine called PPV23 is recommended for you if you are in any of the at-risk groups:

  • Aged 65 or over
  • Aged 2 to 64 years with a long-term health condition that puts you at risk of serious illness from pneumococcal disease

 For everyone aged 65 or over, you only need to get the vaccine once to be protected.

If you are younger than 65, you may need two doses, which are given 5 years apart. 

While pneumococcal disease typically causes mild infections like sinus or ear infections, it can cause more serious problems like pneumonia and meningitis, which can be life-threatening. It is responsible for 50% of pneumonia cases in the community.

When pneumococcal disease leads to very serious infections like pneumonia and meningitis we call it invasive pneumococcal disease, or IPD. Older people are more likely to suffer from invasive pneumococcal disease and can even die.

The best protection we have against pneumococcal disease is vaccination.

It’s good to have questions about vaccines but you should always get information from people you can trust like our website or have a conversation with your GP or Practice Nurse. They will be more than happy to talk to you about the pneumococcal vaccine.

Pneumo-Vaccine-Social-Nov-2022-(1)_11zon We asked Dr Aparna Keegan, Specialist in Public Health Medicine at the NIO, and a specialist in pneumococcal vaccines to talk about why it’s important to get the pneumococcal vaccine, PPV23.

“Over the years, the pneumococcal bacteria that causes pneumococcal disease has become resistant to many medications. This makes treating pneumococcal disease much more difficult. But it also means that prevention of pneumo by vaccination is more important than ever.

The pneumococcal vaccine works by teaching your immune system to make antibodies to fight pneumococcal infection. Infection can range from mild to very serious, and what we know as invasive pneumococcal disease.

Everyone aged 65 or over and people with certain long-term health conditions are most at risk of serious illness from pneumo.

If you’re 65 or older, you only need to get the vaccine once to be protected. Getting the pneumococcal vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from pneumo.”



This page was updated on 11 November 2022