What are pneumococcal vaccines?
There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines:
- The pneumococcal conjugate (PCV 13) vaccine that protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria.
- The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine that protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria.
The type of vaccine recommended depends on a person's age and risk factors.
Who should get the pneumococcal vaccine?
Pneumococcal Conjugate (PCV 13) Vaccine
- The PCV-13 vaccine is provided free to children as part of their routine immunizations. It is given as a series of three doses. The first dose is given at 2 months of age, the 2nd at 4 months, and the 3rd at 12 months. An extra dose is given at 6 months to children at high risk for pneumococcal disease.
- The PCV 13 vaccine is also recommended and free for some people 5 years of age and older with certain medical conditions that put them at high risk of pneumococcal disease.
Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine
Some people are at high risk of getting sick from pneumococcal infections. The vaccine is provided free to these people, including:
- Seniors 65 years and older.
- Residents of any age living in residential care or assisted living facilities.
- This vaccine is also provided free to people 2 years of age and older who have certain medical conditions or lifestyle factors that put them at high risk for pneumococcal disease.
- A 2nd dose of vaccine is recommended for people with certain medical conditions. Speak with your health care provider to find out if a second dose is needed and when to get it.
What are the benefits of getting vaccinated?
The vaccine is the best way to protect against pneumococcal infection, a serious and sometimes fatal disease. When you or your child get vaccinated, you help protect others as well.
About pneumococcal infection
- Pneumococcal infection is caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.
- The bacteria can cause serious and life-threatening infections such as meningitis (an infection of the lining that covers the brain), septicemia (an infection of the blood), and pneumonia (an infection of the lungs).
- Permanent complications of meningitis include brain damage and deafness.
- For every 4 children who get sick with pneumococcal meningitis, 1 may die.
- Pneumococcal infection is spread from one person to another by coughing, sneezing, or close face-to-face contact. It can also be spread through saliva when people share food or drinks. Babies and children can become sick through sharing soothers, bottles or toys used by other children.