Prevention

Keeping up to date with recommended vaccines is the best way to prevent pneumococcal disease. Pneumococcal vaccines help protect against some of the more than 90 types of pneumococcal bacteria.

Vaccination

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

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13 or Prevnar 13®)
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23 or Pneumovax 23®)

These vaccines protect against many, but not all types of pneumococcal bacteria. This means there is still a chance someone can develop pneumococcal disease after vaccination.

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

It is also important to get an influenza vaccine every year because having the flu increases the likelihood of getting pneumococcal disease.

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.

Re-Infection

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

Page last reviewed: November 21, 2019