Pneumococcal Vaccination

Two older adult women entertain a baby girl

Pneumococcal disease is common in young children, but older adults are at greatest risk of serious illness and death. Vaccines are the best way to prevent pneumococcal disease.

Two vaccines used in the United States help protect against pneumococcal disease:

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13)
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23)

These vaccines are good at preventing severe pneumococcal disease, which often require treatment in the hospital and can be deadly. However, these vaccines will not prevent all infections.

CDC Recommends Pneumococcal Vaccination for Young Children, Older Adults, and Certain Other People

CDC recommends PCV13 for

  • All children younger than 2 years old
  • People 2 years or older with certain medical conditions

In addition, adults 65 years or older may discuss and decide, with their clinician, to receive PCV13.

CDC recommends PPSV23 for

  • All adults 65 years or older
  • People 2 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions
  • Adults 19 through 64 years old who smoke cigarettes

Some groups may need multiple or booster doses. Talk with your or your child’s clinician about what is best for your specific situation.

Pneumococcal Vaccines Are Safe but Side Effects Can Occur

Most people who get a pneumococcal vaccine do not have any serious problems with it. However, side effects can occur. Most side effects are mild, meaning they do not affect daily activities. See the PCV13 and PPSV23 Vaccine Information Statements to learn more about the most common side effects.

Page last reviewed: September 1, 2020