Free pneumococcal vaccine is now available from your GP under the National Immunisation Program. The vaccine is generally well tolerated and is highly effective.
Pneumococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection which can cause pneumonia (lung infection), meningitis (inflammation around the brain), septicaemia (blood poisoning) and middle ear infections. Children under 2 years of age are especially vulnerable.
Who is eligible for free vaccine?
1. Babies born from 1 January 2005. All newborns are eligible to receive free vaccine at 2, 4 and 6 months of age. The vaccine can be given safely and effectively along with the other vaccinations due at these ages.
2. Children born from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2004. These children (if not already vaccinated) are eligible for free 'catch-up' vaccine during 2005. Children starting the course between 2-6 months of age require 3 doses; those between 7-17 months require 2 doses; and infants over 18 months need only 1 dose. Injections are 2 months apart.
3. Children under 5 years at high risk.
- Children at increased risk due to medical conditions such as low immunity, Down's syndrome, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, heart disease, premature birth (<28 weeks) and HIV.
- Indigenous children in high-risk areas.
Is the vaccine safe?
After the vaccination there may be some swelling, redness and soreness at the injection site and mild fever. Severe reactions are very rare.
For further information, speak to your GP, ring the Immunisation Infoline on 1800 671 811 or visit http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/.
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.