The most common disease in people of 60 years and older is (severe) pneumonia. Other common pneumococcal diseases are meningitis and blood poisoning. Every year, 6,000 people aged 60 years and older are admitted with severe pneumococcal disease. Of these, 900 people die. Vaccination could prevent 850 of 6.000 hospitalizations and 140 of 900 deaths.
In the fall of 2023, everyone born between 1-1-1957 and 31-12-1960 will receive an invitation from their GP for a free pneumococcal vaccine. Adults will be vaccinated against 23 of the most common types of pneumococci.
The invitation will state the date and time you can get the pneumococcal vaccination at the general practitioner's office. Are you unable to make this appointment? Then make a new appointment at your GP.
Were you born between 1-1-1957 and 31-12-1960 and did you not receive an invitation? Please contact your GP.
On the Dutch Caribbean islands all people aged between 60 and 80 will receive an invitation.
The invitation letter is available in English, Arabic and Turkish.
Pneumococcal vaccine at the same time as the flu vaccine
The GP also sends the invitation for the flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is for everyone from the age of 60. Depending on how your GP organises the vaccination in the autumn, you will receive two vaccinations at the same time or two different occasions. You will probably receive a separate invitation letter for each vaccination. There are no disadvantages to receiving vaccinations at the same time. Have you indicated to your doctor that you do not want to receive an invitation for the flu vaccine? And are you in the target group for the pneumococcal vaccination? Then you will receive an invitation for the pneumococcal vaccination.
Living in a nursing home?
Were you born in the period from 1957 up to and including 1960 and are you living in a care institution (e.g. a nursing home)? In that case, you will receive an invitation for the pneumococcal vaccination through the care institution, just like with the flu vaccine. The vaccination is free of charge.
When are you not allowed to have a pneumococcal vaccine?
The vaccine is suitable for almost everyone. But people who have previously had an allergic reaction to one of the components of the vaccine are not allowed to be vaccinated. The latter, however, rarely occurs.
There are several reasons why it is better to delay the vaccination:
- If you have a fever at the moment you would get the vaccination;
- if you have surgery within 48 hours after the vaccination;
- if you have a cold on the day you were going to be vaccinated.
It is best to discuss with your doctor when would be a better time.
Chemotherapy or recently a bone marrow transplant?
If you are receiving chemotherapy, you should discuss with your attending physician, whether now is the right time for the pneumococcal vaccination. The pneumococcal vaccination does not cause any harm while undergoing chemotherapy, but sometimes it does not work as well. Therefore, it may be better to wait until the chemotherapy is finished. Even if you have recently had a bone marrow transplant, it is best to discuss with your specialist if you are currently allowed to have a pneumococcal vaccination.