Babies and ChildrenPrevenar 13: pneumonia vaccine. What is it, when does it wear and side...

Prevenar 13: pneumonia vaccine. What is it, when does it wear and side effects

The Prevenar 13 vaccine is a pneumococcal vaccine that protects against pneumonia. Find out what it consists of, when you should put it on your baby, how much it costs and the most common adverse effects.

The pneumonia involves inflammation of the lungs caused primarily by virus infection or also by bacteria (are not the only causes, as also can be caused by parasites, fungi). However, it is true that most cases of pneumonia are caused by viruses, especially rhinoviruses, adenoviruses, and the flu virus (influenza).

Its symptoms are diverse, although the most common tend to be intense pain that is located on the side of the chest where the infection, expectoration, cough, high fever and chills have occurred.

Although pneumonia was once considered a dangerous disease, nowadays when a child falls ill they tend to recover with some ease, and also without sequelae, being able to lead an absolutely normal life. However, they can become complicated and cause important sequelae in children, which can cause a pleural effusion (accumulation of fluid between the layers of tissue that line the lungs).

On the other hand, it is also a disease that can be prevented from when children are young by a new vaccine, known as Prevenar 13.

What is Prevenar 13? What does this vaccine consist of?

This vaccine receives this peculiar name because, from a medical point of view, it is a vaccine for 13 types of pneumococci , which offers greater safety to the smallest of the house by immunizing them against thirteen types of pneumococci, causing not only pneumonia, but also otitis and meningitis.

We could say that it is an improved version of the classic Prevenar, since in reality this first vaccine only immunized against 7 pneumococci (instead of the current 13).

How are the doses? How often do they wear?

The Prevenar 13 vaccine is given in four doses to children 2 to 24 months (that is, 2 months to 2 years of age). It is usually distributed as follows:

  1. The first dose: It is given at 2 months of life.
  2. The second dose: It is given at 4 or 5 months of life.
  3. The third dose: It is given at 6 or 7 months of life.
  4. The fourth and last dose: It is put between 12 to 24 months.

It is applied quickly and easily in a superficial way by means of a slight prick, and stands out for being a vaccine generally well tolerated by babies, as it does not produce local or general adverse effects.

It is, as we can see, a very important vaccine based on the clear results obtained in those Autonomous Communities where children were massively vaccinated with them: there was a 72% reduction in cases of bacteremic pneumonia, 54% of meningitis and 45% of empyema.

Side effects after putting Prevenar 13

As we indicated previously, we are faced with a vaccine that is generally well tolerated by most babies. But, as with all vaccines, some side effects can occur, although the normal thing is precisely that they do not occur.

In the case of Prevenar 13, a slight fever or a slightly higher fever may appear a few hours after the administration of the vaccine. Reactions can also occur at the injection site, such as swelling, pain, and redness.

Other side effects such as irritability, decreased appetite, and drowsiness are possible.

How much?

Until 2016, parents who wanted to vaccinate their babies with Prevenar 13 (as it is an optional and not mandatory vaccine), had to pay 75 euros for each dose, so that the four doses reached 300 euros.

However, since January 2016 the Prevenar 13 vaccine has been part of the state vaccination calendar, as it was finally introduced by the Ministry of Health, so it does not present any type of cost for babies born after that date.

In these cases, the vaccine becomes 3 doses: it will be given at 2, 4 and 12 months.  The reason? According to the experts, since it is a universal vaccination, 3 doses would apparently be sufficient as there are more children vaccinated.

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