All information from Dr. Sears' The Vaccine Book.
>Given at 2, 4, 6 and 15 months of age.
Pc bacteria, or Streptococcus pneumoniae, is a bacterium that, like the HIB bacterium, is passed like the common cold and is more common in infants, toddlers and the elderly. The Pc bacteria can cause:
Meningitis- an infection of the lining of the brain
Pneumonia- an infection causing fluid to build up in the lungs
Signs and symptoms of infection with Pc:
Mild infections caused by Pc present like a cold. A fever that does not resolve on it's own after a few days would prompt a trip to the pediatrician, who would treat with antibiotics if symptoms of ear or sinus infection, bronchitis or possible pneumonia are present. Usually the antibiotics will treat the illness without ever being discovered as Pc.
Moderate infections begin like a mild infection does, but the child will also appear lethargic, may have labored breathing and will "look sick" enough to call for a chest X-ray, blood work and oral antibiotics or IM antibiotics (administered my intramuscular injection). The blood cultures are positive for Pc (that take 48 hours to result), and the parents of the child will be called to have the child come to the hospital for 1-2 weeks of IV antibiotics.
Severe infections with Pc will present with meningitis or blood infection symptoms which the treating doctor will immediately recognize. The child would be immediately admitted to the hospital for several days of aggressive IV antibiotics and possibly respiratory support via endotracheal intubation in an intensive care unit. Most children with severe Pc infection will recover fully but it may take weeks in the hospital. Long lasting complications such as brain damage or hearing loss are caused by swelling of the brain. Fatality is 20-30%, 60-80% in the elderly.
~Pc is the most common cause of meningitis in infants and a common cause of respiratory infections. Infection with Pc is not required to be reported to the CDC, so it is difficult to say precisely how common it is. It is believed that the number of serious Pc infections has decreased from 60,000 cases yearly to 17,000 cases after vaccination began in 2001.
Although the vaccine has done much good, the current vaccine now only covers 2% of the known strains of Pc. A newer version of the vaccine, Prevnar 13, was formulated to cover a new strain, 19A, which was resistant to some antibiotics. As the vaccine is reformulated and distributed, new strains crop up and older ones die out, so Pc will never be completely eradicated.
~The Pc vaccine is made by using the sugars that coat the outside of the bacteria and are added to the vaccine solution along with diphtheria toxoid pieces and aluminum. The vaccine does not contain full or living Pc bacteria, so there is no chance of infection by Pc from the vaccine.
Potentially Harmful Ingredients
Dr. Sears' Summary: "Pc infections can be very bad or only minor irritations. The problem is, you don't know until you're stuck with one. The Pc germ is a fairly common resident in day cares, schools, and check out lines at the grocery store. Unless you are a housebound agoraphobic or a stay at home mom who never, ever takes her baby out, you and your kids will encounter the germ. The Pc vaccine offers a "get out of jail free" card, so to speak. Overall, I'd call this a fairly important vaccine."