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Vaccines to Prevent Pneumococcal Disease
There are currently two types of pneumococcal vaccines: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23).
There are more than 90 types of pneumococcal bacteria. PCV13 protects against 13 types and PPSV23 protects against 23 types. Both vaccines provide protection against illnesses like meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord) and bacteremia (blood infection). PCV13 also provides protection against pneumonia (lung infection).
PCV13 is recommended as a series of four doses, one dose at each of these ages:
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 also receive PPSV23.
One dose of PCV13 is recommended for all adults 65 years or older who have not previously received the vaccine. A dose of PPSV23 should be given at least one year later.
For adults 65 years or older who have already received one or more doses of PPSV23, the dose of PCV13 should be given at least one year after receiving the most recent dose of PPSV23.
One dose of PCV13 is recommended for children 6 through 18 years old and adults 19 through 64 years old with the following medical conditions that put them at increased risk for pneumococcal disease:
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 your health care provider for details.
One dose of PPSV23 is recommended for:
People 2 through 64 years old 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 (three lifetime doses of PPSV23). In addition, any individual who needs two doses of PPSV23 before age 65 years is recommended one dose of PCV13 first. Ask your health care provider for details.
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.
Last reviewed: July 2016
Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by a type of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). There are different types of pneumococcal disease, such as lung infections (pneumonia), blood infections (bacteremia), infections of the covering of the brain and spinal cord (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 can be found in many people's noses and throats without causing disease and are spread by coughing, sneezing, or contact with respiratory secretions. Why it suddenly invades the body and causes disease in some people is unknown.
Symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia include:
Symptoms of pneumococcal meningitis include:
The symptoms of pneumococcal bacteremia (a bloodstream infection) include:
Symptoms of pneumococcal otitis media (middle ear infection) include:
Pneumococcal infections can be hard to treat because some strains of the bacteria have become resistant to the medicines that are used to treat them (antibiotics). Pneumococcal disease can be deadly. In some cases, it can result in long-term problems, like brain damage, deafness, and limb loss.
Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but some people are at increased risk: