Is the optional pneumonia vaccine important?
Q: My baby girl is almost 2 months old. She has been administered the normal vaccinations. Her doctor says that there is a new pneumonia vaccine available, which is optional. Is it important to take this or can we skip it? She recently underwent echocardiography & was diagnosed with mild left Pulmonary Artery Stenosis. Is this a serious problem? Please tell us in detail the implications.
A:This vaccine protects against invasive pneumococcal disease, which can be a significant cause of morbidity (pneumonia and meningitis) and mortality in infants. If you can easily afford this for your young infant, it would be advisable to give it. If you cannot, do not lose much sleep over it. It is hoped that with increased use and over time, this vaccine will become cheaper. It is difficult to predict on the basis of your mail as to how mild the stenosis is. Very mild pulmonary stenosis, in the absence of other structural or functional anomalies of the heart, is compatible with a normal life span. It is best to ask your paediatric cardiologist about this as (s)he would have the relevant data to discuss the probabilities, further line of action and the remedial measures.