Vaccinations & travel medicine

What are pneumococci?

The term "pneumococcus" refers to bacteria (Streptococcus pneumoniae) that are mainly transmitted by droplet infection, i.e. usually through coughing or sneezing, during an influenza infection. Depending on the region of the world and age, different pneumococcal strains are responsible for different diseases with sometimes life-threatening courses. For example, they cause the majority of all bacterial pneumonia. Other serious diseases such as sinusitis, middle ear infection, meningitis or even blood poisoning are also triggered by pneumococci.

Babies and small children are particularly at risk because their immune system alone is not yet able to fight off a pneumococcal infection. But even if you have a chronic illness or your immune system is weakened, for example due to a severe cold, this favours an infection with pneumococci. Therefore, the risk of infection is particularly high during the cold season.

When is pneumococcal vaccination useful? 

The Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) recommends vaccination against pneumococci for all adults over the age of 60.

A general refresher course is not currently recommended, but may be useful depending on the individual risk profile and must therefore be assessed by a doctor.

In addition, vaccination against pneumococci is recommended for all persons with increased health risk due to certain pre-existing conditions or with occupational risk.

How is the pneumococcal vaccination carried out and what must be observed?

The pneumococcal vaccine is an inactivated vaccine. There are different vaccines on the market that are used depending on the indication. A pneumococcal vaccine that protects against 23 different types of pneumococci (PPSV23) should be used for people over 60 years of age.

The vaccination is carried out in your upper arm muscle. The stimulation of the body's own defences often leads to reddening or swelling at the injection site, which may also hurt. General symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue and muscle and joint pain may also occur during the first three days after the vaccination. Such vaccination reactions usually subside after one to three days.

What should I do?

To check whether you have been vaccinated, simply make an appointment for a vaccination status check at one of our Avi Medical surgeries and discuss with our medical team.

The team will tell you whether you are already protected or whether you should receive a vaccination. At the same time, the doctors will also check whether there are other vaccinations that would be useful for you and will administer them directly if necessary.