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Pneumococcal Vaccination

Each year in the United States, pneumococcal disease causes thousands of cases of meningitis, bloodstream infections, pneumonia, and ear infections. Pneumococcal vaccine is very good at preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death. However, it is not guaranteed to prevent infection and symptoms in all people. Learn more about pneumococcal vaccines.

PCV13 for Infants and Children

Babies younger than 2 years of age are most likely to have a serious case of pneumococcal disease. 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.

The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13 or Prevnar 13®) protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria. PCV13 is recommended for use in infants and young children. Certain older children may also need a dose of PCV13. For more information, see the childhood immunization schedule [5 pages] or talk to your doctor or nurse.


PCV13 for Adults

The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is approved by FDA for all adults 50 years old and older. Once additional information about its effectiveness becomes available, CDC will be able to make recommendations for its use in otherwise healthy adults. Adults with conditions that weaken the immune system, such as HIV infection, organ transplantation, leukemia, lymphoma, and severe kidney disease, should receive PCV13. If you have one of these conditions, talk to your doctor.

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PPSV23 for Children and Adults

The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23 or Pneumovax®) protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. It is recommended for all adults 65 years and older and for those 2 years and older at high risk for disease. PPSV23 is also recommended for adults 19 through 64 years of age who smoke cigarettes or who have asthma.

For more information, see the childhood [5 pages] and adult [2 pages] immunization schedules or talk to your doctor or nurse.

What You Need to Know About the Pneumococcal Vaccine

Pneumococcal Vaccine Resources for Health Care Professionals

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