Each year in the United States, pneumococcal disease causes thousands of infections, such as meningitis, bloodstream infections, pneumonia, and ear infections. Pneumococcal vaccines are very good at preventing severe disease, needing treatment in the hospital, and death. However, vaccination is not guaranteed to prevent infection and symptoms in all people. Learn more about pneumococcal vaccines.
PCV13 for Infants, Children, and Adults
The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13 or Prevnar 13®) protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria.
Before the vaccine, there were about 700 cases of meningitis, 13,000 blood infections, and 200 deaths from pneumococcal disease each year among children younger than 5 years old. After the vaccine was introduced, these numbers dropped quickly.
PCV13 is recommended for use in infants and young children. Certain older children may also need a dose of PCV13.
PCV13 is recommended for all adults 65 years or older. One dose of PCV13 is also recommended for adults 19 years or older with conditions that weaken the immune system, such as HIV infection, organ transplantation, leukemia, lymphoma, and severe kidney disease. If you have one of these conditions, talk to your doctor.
The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23 or Pneumovax®) protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years or older and for those 2 years or older at high risk for disease. PPSV23 is also recommended for adults 19 through 64 years old who smoke cigarettes or who have asthma.
What You Need to Know About the Pneumococcal Vaccine
- Pneumococcal Vaccine Basics
- Who Should Not Get the Vaccine
- Possible Reactions to Vaccine: PCV13, PPSV23
- Vaccine Safety
Pneumococcal Vaccine Resources for Healthcare Professionals
- Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
- Pneumococcal Vaccine Recommendations
- Provider Education
- Pneumococcal Vaccine Timing for Adults [4 pages]
- Page last reviewed: June 10, 2015
- Page last updated: December 10, 2015
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