The pneumococcal vaccine provides some protection against a form of bacterial meningitis caused by pneumococcal bacteria, as well as other conditions such as severe ear infections.
The vaccine doesn't protect against all types of pneumococcal infection and doesn't protect against meningitis caused by other bacteria or viruses.
The pneumococcal vaccine is usually only given once.
Who needs a pneumococcal vaccination?
The pneumococcal vaccine is available in Scotland for all people aged 65 years and over.
It may also be available if you're under 65 (including children) and fall under one of the following risk groups, or have one of the following serious medical conditions:
- problems with the spleen, either because the spleen has been removed or doesn't work properly (asplenia)
- chronic respiratory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, and emphysema
- serious heart conditions
- severe kidney disease
- long-term liver disease
- diabetes that requires medication
- lowered immunity due to disease or treatment, such as people with HIV, people receiving chemotherapy for cancer, or people who are on long-term oral steroids for conditions such as asthma
- cochlear implants (a specific hearing device)
- cerebrospinal fluid leaks
- if your job involves exposure to metal fumes (for example, if you are a welder)
What's pneumococcal infection and how is it spread?
Pneumococcal infection is caused by pneumococcal bacteria and can cause serious illnesses, such as pneumonia.
Some adults carry pneumococcal bacteria in the back of their nose and throat and can pass them around by coughing, sneezing, and close contact. Usually, this doesn’t result in serious illness but it can lead to pneumococcal infection, including pneumococcal meningitis.
People aged 65 or over, and adults with certain health conditions, have a higher chance of becoming unwell with pneumococcal infection. People aged 65 or over are more likely to suffer serious long-term health problems from pneumococcal infection, and can even die.
Read more about meningitis
Read more about ear infections
Read more about pneumonia