HOME HOME   |   ABOUT   |   CONTACT US    |   EMAIL UPDATES   |   Español    
  • Print
Text Size: A A A

Pneumococcal Vaccine

Vaccines to Prevent Pneumococcal

  • PCV or PCV13: Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for all infants and children, and adults 19 years and older at high risk for disease (Spanish)
  • PPSV or PPSV23: Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine for all adults 65 years and older and those 2 years of age and older at high risk for disease (Spanish)
Vaccine Basics

There are currently two types of pneumococcal vaccines: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23). 


For Infants and Young Children

There are more than 90 types of pneumococcal bacteria. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) protects against 13 of them. These bacteria types are responsible for most common severe pneumococcal infections among children.

PCV13 is recommended as a series of four doses, one dose at each of these ages:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months and
  • 12 through 15 months

Children who miss their shots at these ages should still get the vaccine. The number of doses and the intervals between doses will depend on the child’s age. Ask your health care provider for details.

Read the CDC’s Who Needs to be Vaccinated Page or ask your health care provider if your child should receive PCV13, PPSV23, or both. 

For Adults

One dose of PCV13 is recommended for adults 19 years and older with the following medical conditions that put them at high risk for pneumococcal disease:

  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks
  • Cochlear implant(s)
  • Sickle cell disease and other hemaglobinopathies
  • Functional or anatomic asplenia
  • Congenital or acquired immunodeficiencies
  • HIV infection
  • Chronic renal failure
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Leukemia
  • Hodgkin's disease
  • Generalized malignancy
  • Long-term immunosuppressive therapy
  • Solid organ transplant
  • Multiple myeloma

Adults with one of the above listed conditions who have not received any pneumococcal vaccine, should get a dose of PCV13 first and should also continue to receive the recommended doses of PPSV23. Ask your health care provider for details.

Adults who have previously received one or more doses of PPSV23, and have one of the above listed conditions should also receive a dose of PCV13 and should continue to receive the remaining recommended doses of PPSV23. Ask you health care provider for details.


For Children, Pre-Teens, Teens, and Adults

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria, including those most likely to cause serious disease.

Most healthy adults who get the vaccine develop protection to most or all of these types within two to three weeks of getting the shot. Very old people and people with some long-term illnesses might not respond as well, or at all.  

One dose of PPSV23 is recommended for:

  • All adults 65 years of age and older
  • Anyone two through 64 years of age who has a long- term health problem such as: heart disease, lung disease, sickle cell disease diabetes alcoholism cirrhosis leaks of cerebrospinal fluid or cochlear implant
  • Anyone two through 64 years of age who has a disease or condition that lowers the body’s resistance to infection, such as: Hodgkin’s disease, lymphoma or leukemia, kidney failure, multiple myeloma, nephrotic syndrome, HIV infection or AIDS, damaged spleen, or no spleen, organ transplant
  • Anyone two through 64 years of age who is taking a drug or treatment that lowers the body’s resistance of infection, such as: long-term steroids, certain cancer drugs, radiation therapy
  • Any adult 19 through 64 years of age who is a smoker or has asthma

People two through 64 years of age with certain chronic health conditions may be recommended to receive a second dose, five years after their first dose. Those people would also get a dose of PPSV23 at age 65 years or older if at least five years have passed since their previous PPSV23 dose (3 lifetime doses of PPSV23). In addition, any adult who needs two doses of PPSV23 before age 65 years is recommended one dose of PCV13 first. Ask your health care provider for details.

About Pneumococcal

What is Pneumococcal Disease?

Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by a type of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). There are different types of pneumococcal disease, such as pneumococcal pneumonia, blood infections (bacteremia), brain infections (pneumoccocal meningitis), and middle ear infections (otitis media). Pneumococcal disease is a leading cause of vaccine-preventable illness and death in the United States.

Pneumococcus bacteria is in many people's noses and throats and is spread by coughing, sneezing, or contact with respiratory secretions. Why it suddenly invades the body and causes disease is unknown.

Symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

Symptoms of pneumococcal meningitis include:

  • Stiff neck
  • Fever
  • Mental confusion and disorientation
  • Visual sensitivity to light (photophobia)

The symptoms of pneumococcal bacteremia (a bloodstream infection) may be similar to some of the symptoms of pneumonia and meningitis, along with joint pain and chills.

Symptoms of pneumococcal otitis media (middle ear infection) include:

  • A painful ear
  • A red or swollen eardrum
  • Sometimes sleeplessness, fever and irritability

Pneumoccocal infections may be hard to treat because some strains of the bacteria have become resistant to the drugs that are used to treat them. Pneumococcal disease can be fatal. In some cases, it can result in long-term problems, like brain damage, deafness, and limb loss.


Who gets Pneumococcal disease?

Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but some people are at greater risk than others:

  • People 65 years and older
  • Very young children
  • People with certain health problems
  • People with a weakened immune system
  • Smokers
  • Adults with asthma
Take Action

Ready to get vaccinated?

Learn more about the vaccine recommendations for you.


Read more about pneumococcal vaccines:

Going to get vaccinated: