Pneumococcal vaccines save lives when they get to those who need them most. That’s why a new report from The International Federation on Ageing is highlighting gaps in the way Canada’s long-term care community handles the threat of pneumococcal disease. This report does a deep dive into the results of their Driving the Agenda of Pneumococcal Pneumonia Vaccination in At-risk Populations in Community and Long-term Care study.
What is the link between pneumococcal disease and pneumonia?Pneumococcal disease is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae. It can invade many parts of the body, including the lungs, and is the leading cause of bacterial pneumonia.
Pneumonia is a serious lung health threat. When a person has it, the tiny air sacs (alveoli) inside their lungs become inflamed, and often filled with fluid. It can make it very hard to breathe.
Why is it so important to encourage people in long-term care to vaccinate against pneumococcal disease?
Pneumonia is a leading cause of death and hospitalization in seniors and in people with chronic diseases. Immunization is a simple intervention that can save lives.
Can pneumococcal vaccination prevent all cases of pneumonia in long-term care homes?
No. Many different organisms can cause pneumonia, including viruses and fungi. However, the pneumococcal vaccine can greatly reduce a vulnerable person’s overall pneumonia risk. Getting a flu shot helps, too!
Who should read this technical report?
This report may be of special interest to Canadians who have a loved one in long-term care, or anyone who believes in helping older Canadians breathe easier.