Vaccines are the best way to prevent pneumococcal disease. Learn what else you can do to help protect yourselves and others from pneumococcal disease.


There are two kinds of pneumococcal vaccines recommended in the United States:

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV15 or PCV20)
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23)

These vaccines protect against many, but not all common types of pneumococcal bacteria. Also, the protection from these vaccines is good but not perfect (or 100%). For these two reasons, there is still a chance someone can develop pneumococcal disease after vaccination.

Vaccine recommendations

CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for

  • All children younger than 5 years old
  • People 5 through 64 years old who are at increased risk for pneumococcal disease
  • Adults 65 years or older

Learn more about pneumococcal vaccination, including who should get which vaccine(s).

It is also important to get a flu vaccine every year. Having the flu increases the likelihood someone also gets pneumococcal disease.

Preventive antibiotics

CDC does not recommend that close contacts of someone with pneumococcal disease receive antibiotics to prevent them from getting sick. Experts call this prophylaxis. Generally, people do not develop pneumococcal disease after exposure to someone with a pneumococcal infection.


People can get pneumococcal disease more than once. A previous pneumococcal infection will not protect you from future infection. Therefore, CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination even if someone has had pneumococcal disease in the past.