Pneumococcal vaccination

Latest update: - Authors: Mieke Croughs, Ula Maniewski-Kelner

Pneumococci are bacteria that can cause severe infections.

Infection occurs when you breathe in droplets that are released when an infected person speaks or sneezes or through direct contact, for example kissing. The risk of severe infections is higher in infants, people over the age of 65 years and people with certain health conditions.

The symptoms of an infection can differ significantly, varying from an ear infection to pneumonia or meningitis.

The infection can be treated with antibiotics. As there are different types of pneumococci, a previous infection does not result in immunity.

In Belgium, the pneumococcal vaccine is included in the basic vaccination schedule. This means that all infants will be offered the vaccination.

For who is the vaccination recommended?

  • infants
  • people aged 65 years or older
  • people with certain health conditions. The (family)doctor can assess whether you are eligible. Also refer to the pneumococcal vaccination guideline of the Belgian Superior Health Council

Risk areas

Pneumococcal infections occur all over the world. In some tropical and subtropical countries, pneumococci are more resistant to antibiotics, making them harder to treat.


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