Vaccination can protect both children and adults from pneumococcal disease.
Pneumococcal disease is caused by bacteria that can spread from person to person through close contact. It can cause ear infections, and it can also lead to more serious infections of the:
Pneumococcal pneumonia is most common among adults. Pneumococcal meningitis can cause deafness and brain damage, and it kills about 1 child in 10 who get it.
Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but children under 2 years of age and adults 65 years and older, people with certain medical conditions, and cigarette smokers are at the highest risk.
Before there was a vaccine, the United States saw the following in children under 5 each year from pneumococcal disease:
Since the vaccine became available, severe pneumococcal disease in these children has fallen by 88%.
About 18,000 older adults die of pneumococcal disease each year in the United States.
Treatment of pneumococcal infections with penicillin and other drugs is not as effective as it used to be, because some strains of the disease have become resistant to these drugs. This makes prevention of the disease through vaccination even more important.
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (called PCV13) protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria.
PCV13 is routinely given to children at 2, 4, 6, and 12-15 months of age. It is also recommended for children and adults 2 to 64 years of age with certain health conditions, and for all adults 65 years of age and older. Your doctor can give you details.
Anyone who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a dose of this vaccine, to an earlier pneumococcal vaccine called PCV7, or to any vaccine containing diphtheria toxoid (for example, DTaP), should not get PCV13.
Anyone with a severe allergy to any component of PCV13 should not get the vaccine. Tell your doctor if the person being vaccinated has any severe allergies.
If the person scheduled for vaccination is not feeling well, your healthcare provider might decide to reschedule the shot on another day.
With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of reactions. These are usually mild and go away on their own, but serious reactions are also possible.
Problems reported following PCV13 varied by age and dose in the series.
The most common problems reported among children were:
Adults have reported pain, redness, and swelling where the shot was given; also mild fever, fatigue, headache, chills, or muscle pain.
Young children who get PCV13 along with inactivated flu vaccine at the same time may be at increased risk for seizures caused by fever. Ask your doctor for more information.
As with any medicine, there is a very small chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death.
The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. For more information, visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety.
Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness, usually within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
VAERS does not give medical advice.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal program that was created to compensate people who may have been injured by certain vaccines.
Persons who believe they may have been injured by a vaccine can learn about the program and about filing a claim by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website at www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation. There is a time limit to file a claim for compensation.
Vaccine Information Statement
42 U.S.C. § 300aa-26
Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Many Vaccine Information Statements are available in Spanish and other languages. See www.immunize.org/vis.
Muchas hojas de información sobre vacunas están disponibles en español y en otros idiomas. Visite www.immunize.org/vis.
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Last modified on: 8 September 2017