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Monday, June 29, 2009

Pneumococcal Vaccine

My daughter Keona had her first dose of Pneumococcal vaccine yesterday. It was very timely because even if it was Monday, we had no work because our company celebrates St. Peter's feast so we had a non-working holiday...Yeheeeeyyy, we can accompany our daughter to her pedia. When we arrived at her pedia's clinic, a lot of patients are already waiting for the doctor whose having rounds (doctor's visit) of her admitted (hospitalized) patients. Good thing we had Keona's name listed on a sheet of paper posted on the clinic's door the other day and she's number 2 so we don't have to wait too long when the doctor arrived. That's what we do every time we go to Keona's pedia because everyday, she has "overflowing" patients.hehe.I think it's because of her sunny and accommodating personality that makes her likable to patients. Oh...did I tell you that this doctor is already my daughter's fourth pediatrician? We've been hopping from one doctor to another because we searched for the one that we feel would really take care of her and someone who we can just text/call even in the middle of the night when problems and emergencies come. Now, we settled for two doctors...the one we had a visit yesterday - for Keona's general pediatric needs and another doctor, a pediatric nephrologist - the one who monitors for Keona's ureteral reflux. I think (and I believe ) that they are the best doctors in town:)

Going back to pneumococcal vaccine(ang daldal ko! hehe). I was kind of traumatized already because of pneumonia. Keona had already suffered pneumonia when she was only 2 months old. We thought that it was only caused by a 5 in 1 vaccination but her fever did not go lower than 38 degree Celsius and would even reach up to 40. 6. Whew! I was really alarmed. She would moan and her face would turn red...Good thing she did not have convulsion. That was the first time she was admitted in a hospital.

Here are some facts about pneumococcal vaccine which I bookmarked.

What is pneumococcal disease?

Pneumococcal disease is the main cause of bacterial meningitis (an infection of the covering of the brain) in the United States. Each year, pneumococcal disease causes many health problems in children younger than 5 years, including these problems:

  • More than 700 cases of meningitis
  • About 13,000 blood infections
  • About 5 million ear infections

Children younger than 2 years are at highest risk for serious disease. Pneumococcal disease causes about 200 deaths each year in children younger than 5 years.

What is the pneumococcal vaccine?

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is a shot for infants and toddlers. It helps prevent pneumococcal disease, and it also helps stop the disease from spreading from person to person.

The vaccine's protection lasts at least 3 years. Because most serious pneumococcal infections happen during the first 2 years of life, the vaccine protects children when they are at greatest risk. (Some older children and adults may get the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine--a different vaccine used to prevent pneumococcal disease.)

Why should my child get this vaccine?

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine can prevent pneumococcal disease. Pneumococcus bacteria are spread from person to person through close contact. Pneumococcal infections can be hard to treat because the disease has become resistant to some of the medicines that have been used to treat it. This makes preventing the disease even more important.

Who should get the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and when?

The following groups of children should get this vaccine:

1. All children younger than 2 years. Healthy infants and toddlers should get 4 doses of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine:
  • One dose at 2 months of age
  • One dose at 4 months of age
  • One dose at 6 months of age
  • One dose at 12 to 15 months of age
Children who miss the first dose at 2 months of age should still get the vaccine. Ask your doctor for more information.

2. Some children between 2 and 5 years of age. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is recommended for children between 2 and 5 years of age who:
  • Have sickle cell disease
  • Have a damaged spleen or no spleen
  • Have HIV/AIDS
  • Have other diseases that affect the immune system, such as diabetes or cancer
  • Take medicines that affect the immune system, such as chemotherapy or steroids
3. This vaccine should also be considered for use in all other children between 2 and 5 years of age, but especially those who:
  • Are younger than 3 years
  • Are Alaska natives, Native Americans or blacks
  • Attend group child care
The number of doses a child needs depends on the how old the child was when he or she started getting the shots. Ask your doctor for more details.

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine may be given at the same time as other childhood vaccines.

Are there some children who should not get pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or who should get it when they are older?

Children should not get pneumococcal conjugate vaccine if they had a severe (life-threatening) allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine.

Children who are moderately or severely ill at the time the shot is scheduled should usually wait until they recover before getting the vaccine. Children with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated.

What are the risks from pneumococcal conjugate vaccine?

In clinical trials, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine was associated with only mild reactions, such as:
  • Tenderness or swelling where the shot was given
  • Mild fever
  • Fussiness
  • Tiredness or poor appetite
  • Vomiting
A vaccine, like any medicine, could cause serious problems, such as a severe allergic reaction. The risk of this vaccine causing serious harm or death is extremely small. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor.

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