KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — The federal government has announced an initial allocation of RM60 million to provide pneumococcal vaccination for all children beginning next year.
Pneumococcal diseases are infections caused by a bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae that infects adults and children alike but are more common in younger children and the elderly.
Examples of pneumococcal diseases included pneumonia, meningitis, febrile bacteraemia, otitis media, sinusitis and bronchitis.
Currently, families who can afford it at private clinics or hospitals pay RM300 for each jab and over RM1,000 for the full course.
How pneumococcal vaccines work?
Streptococcus pneumoniae can spread easily through contaminated surfaces and from person to person when there is direct contact or through droplets from a sneeze or cough from an infected person. The pneumococcal vaccine will help stimulate our body to make antibodies against Streptococcus pneumoniae, which causes the disease. This is because vaccines contain parts of a bacterium that trigger the body to build its immunity towards the bacterium.
If vaccines are made from bacteria how can they be safe?
Vaccines either only use parts of a bacteria or the whole bacteria that have been killed or weakened. Since they contain inactive forms of bacteria they are not able to cause the diseases they are preventing.
Table 1: Pneumococcal vaccines available in Malaysia
|Types of pneumococcal vaccines available||Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine
|Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
|Available in Malaysia||PNEUMOVAX 23 VACCINE||PNEUMO 23 POLYVALENT VACCINE||PREVENAR 13 SUSPENSION FOR INJECTION||SYNFLORIX VACCINE|
|Protects against 23 serotypes(strains) of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.||Protects against 13 serotypes(strains) of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria||Protects against 10 serotypes(strains) of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria|
Who can/should receive the vaccine?
|1. Adults 65 years or older.
2. Anyone >2 years old who are at high risk of pneumococcal disease i.e. immunocompromised individuals (have certain underlying conditions that causes them to have low immunity/susceptible to infections)
If below 2 yrs old are at high risk (immunocompromised), they should first receive pneumococcal
|1. Children and adolescents from 2 months to 17 years of age
2. Adults aged 50 years and older
|Children from 6 weeks to 5 years of age.|
|Route of administration||Injected into a muscle (thigh or arm) or under the surface of the skin.||Injection into a muscle (thigh or upper arm)|
|Dosing||A single dose (0.5ml);
Timing of vaccination will depend on the specific risk of their underlying condition.
Revaccination possible/required in some individuals*
|Each dose: 0.5 ml
Infants aged 2-6 months
Three-dose primary series with booster – 3 doses.
Two-dose primary series with booster.
Unvaccinated infants and children = 7 months of age
7-11 months: 2 doses**
Children and adolescents aged 2 years to 17 years:
Adults aged 50 years and older (including those previously vaccinated with a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine):
|Each dose: 0.5 ml
Infants aged 6 weeks-6 months
Three-dose primary series with booster
Two-dose primary series with booster
2nd dose: 2 months later.
Booster dose :=6 months after the last primary dose
Preterm infants born after at least 27 weeks of gestational age
Booster dose: = 6 months after the last primary dose
Previously unvaccinated older infants and children:
12-23 months: 2 doses
Booster dose: not established.
24 months – 5 years:
|Use with other vaccines*||Can be given at the same time with certain vaccines as long as different injection sites are used|