Thursday, May 15, 2014

Pneumonia Vaccine, Is it Effective?


My youngest son, Paul Jethro, had his first pneumonia and asthma attack  last April 2009, summer, a week after we enjoyed a one-day picnic-swimming family activity at Ohlala Paradise Spring  Resort at Guinobatan, Albay.   I was then at the office when he was taken to the Emergency Room of  Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital,  nearest hospital in our house by his sister.  He was gasping for air, he had difficulty in breathing.  He was diagnosed to have an asthma and a pneumonia at the same time.  He was confined to the hospital for five days.

I heard that pneumonia vaccine can prevent the recurrence of said disease.  When he had his follow up check-up after he was discharged from the hospital, I requested for said vaccine.  The nurse explained to me that the vaccine would last for five years. So, I was hopeful that he will be free from pneumonia for at least five (5) years.

The following summer (April 2010) Jet was diagnosed again to have a pneumonia.  According to Dr. Edmund Wong, an specialist in internal medicine and allergology of Clinica Bethany at Daraga, Albay, there were different strains of bacteria that can cause pneumonia; The vaccine given was limited to a certain strain of bacteria only, and a different strain of pneumonia bacteria had penetrated his system.  On that time, he had a bronchial asthma and acute sinusitis. 

Just last summer (2013) a similar incident happened.  He continuously cough, to the point that his breathing was affected.  We brought him to Estevez Memorial Hospital, Legazpi City.  When we arrived there, he was provided with an oxygen, done a series of nebulization and his pulse rate was taken.  An xray was likewise, done.  Dr. Mary Ann Salazar, a pediatrician and pulmonologist,  diagnosed him to have an astma attack and  type II pneumonia at the same time.  That was his second pneumonia case after he had a pneumonia vaccine. 

On the other hand, my mother, who is now 84 years, had her pneumonia vaccine four years ago.  Since then, she did not have a pneumonia. She also had this ailment prior to the vaccine.

The above experiences made me think, is it really advisable to have a pneumonia vaccine when it cannot guarrantee a 100% protection against pneumonia? In the case of my mother, the vaccine seem to be effective.

Pneumonia vaccine are available in private clinics and hospitals and most doctors encourage this type of vaccination.  Having this sad experience related to said vaccine, there is a need for those clinics to enlighten the parents of future “vaccine recipients” 

Photo:  from CDC Home


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