Safety of PCV (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccination)?

PCV is a valuable vaccine used to protect against pneumococcal bacteria, a microorganism for which there are very many variants responsible for a number of different conditions. These include pneumonia, septicaemia, bacterial meningitis, and many others. In this article we look at the safety of the PCV injection.

What are the side effects of PCV?

PCV is considered extremely safe and has few side effects. The vaccine would not be in widespread use if it was not considered extremely beneficial and known for its safety. Like all other vaccines, PCV is under constant surveillance by government authorities to ensure that it remains safe. The Yellow Card Scheme is a national system through which side effects and concerns are reported to ensure the overall safety of all medical products in widespread use.

Common side effects of PCV include a reduction in appetite, a mild fever, some irritability, swelling or redness where the injection was made, some sleeplessness, and finally drowsiness. You may experience some or none of these symptoms, and this depends on a number of different factors.

In some cases, although these are very rare, people can react badly to the vaccine and suffer an allergic reaction. Any side effects more severe than the ones mentioned by this article should be brought to the attention of your doctor as soon as possible.

That being said only a handful of people receiving the vaccine suffer from any side effects at all.

Cautions regarding the use of PCV

You should always tell your GP or practice nurse if you or your child are about to receive PCV and have suffered a bad reaction to a previous vaccine. Vaccines are made up of a number of different ingredients, and your GP or nurse will need to know whether you are allergic to any of the components.

In a few very rare cases, people suffer from a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis in response to vaccination. If you have ever suffered anaphylaxis after a vaccination, you should make sure your doctor or nurse are aware of it. Mild allergies like a slight rash are not a cause for concern, but again it is advisable to make sure that your doctor knows about your medical history in its entirety.

It is usually safe to have PCV if you or your child are slightly ill at the time of injection. That being said, any more serious illness with symptoms like a high fever is usually an indication that you should put off the vaccination. You should always check with your doctor if you are actively unwell prior to an immunisation, as he or she will need to decide whether you can have the vaccine or not.

PCV is considered safe during pregnancy and breast feeding, however you in some cases your doctor might err on the side of caution and recommend that you avoid the vaccine until after you have delivered your child and have completed breastfeeding.

PCV is safe for use amongst immunocompromised patients (people with a weakened immune system). However this particular group of people will probably need additional doses of the vaccine to achieve the required level of immunity. This is simply because a weakened immune system does not respond as well to vaccination, which relies on your body’s ability to respond to its contents effectively.

If you have any concerns about the safety of PCV for either yourself or your child, it is always advised that you speak to your doctor or nurse about them. Generally speaking however, PCV is known for its safety as well as effectiveness, and confers much needed immunisation against a bacterium known to be responsible for a wide arrange of serious diseases. If you experience any adverse effects after PCV injection you should always inform your doctor and report the incident(s) through the Yellow Card Scheme. 

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