(Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine; PCV; Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine; PPSV)
by Krisha McCoy, MS
What Is Pneumococcal Disease?
Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by bacteria. It can lead to:
It is spread by person-to-person contact.
What Is the Pneumococcal Vaccine?
There are 2 types of pneumococcal vaccines:
Adults 65 years old and older may receive PCV followed by PPSV. Ask your doctor if you should receive both vaccines.
The vaccines are made from inactivated bacteria. They are given by injection under the skin or into the muscle. The goal of getting a vaccine is that later, when you are exposed to the bacteria, you will not get sick from it.
Who Should Get Vaccinated and When?
The PCV is routinely given in 4 doses at 2, 4, 6, and 12-15 months. It can also be given to children with high-risk conditions. It is also recommended for all adults aged 65 years and older.
If your child has not been vaccinated or missed a dose, talk to their doctor. Depending on your child's age, additional doses may be needed. Also, an additional dose may be needed if your child has a condition that increases the risk of severe disease.
The PPSV is given to adults aged 65 years and older.
PPSV is also given to anyone aged 2-64 years who have certain conditions, such as:
PPSV is also given to anyone aged 2-64 years who is taking a drug or treatment that lowers the body's ability to resist infection, such as:
The vaccine should be given at least 2 weeks before cancer treatment begins.
PPSV should also be given to any adult aged 19-64 years old who:
In some cases, a second dose of PPSV may be needed. For example, a second dose is recommended for people 65 and older who got their first dose before they turned 65 and it has been more than 5 years since that dose. A second dose is also recommended for people 2 through 64 who have:
When a second dose is given, it should be 5 years after the first dose.
What Are the Risks Associated With the Pneumococcal Vaccine?
Generally, all vaccines have a small risk of serious problems. Side effects of PCV include:
Acetaminophen is sometimes given to reduce pain and fever that may occur after getting a vaccine. Giving the medication at the time of the shot may weaken the vaccine's effectiveness. Discuss the risks and benefits of taking acetaminophen with the doctor.
Half of the people who get the vaccine have mild side effects. However, developing the disease is much more likely to cause serious problems than getting the vaccine. Side effects may include:
Who Should Not Get Vaccinated?
Children who should not receive the vaccine are those who:
You should not receive the PPSV if you:
What Other Ways Can Pneumococcal Disease Be Prevented Besides Vaccination?
You can prevent pneumococcal disease if you:
What Happens in the Event of an Outbreak?
In the event of an outbreak, all people who are eligible for a vaccine should receive it.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Vaccines & Immunizations
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Immunization schedules. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html. Updated February 6, 2017. Accessed December 7, 2017.
Kobayashi M, Bennett NM, Gierke R, et al. Intervals between PCV13 and PPSV23 vaccines: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015;64(34):944-947.
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/pcv13.pdf. Updated November 5, 2015. Accessed December 7, 2017.
Pneumococcal disease. Immunization Action Coalition website. Available at:
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Updated October 26, 2016. Accessed December 7, 2017.
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/ppv.pdf. Updated April 24, 2015. Accessed December 7, 2017.
Pneumococcal vaccination. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/pneumo/index.html. Updated December 6, 2017. Accessed December 7, 2017.
10/30/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
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Prymula R, Siegrist C, Chilbek R, et al. Effect of prophylactic paracetamol administration at time of vaccination on febrile reactions and antibody responses in children: two open-label, randomised controlled trials. Lancet. 2009;374(9698):1339.
Last reviewed November 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 2/8/2017
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