Vaccine Against Pneumonia PPSV and PCV

Pneumococcal Vaccine

PCV13 and PPSV23 are two types of pneumonia vaccines that reduce the risk of severe infections with the pneumococcal bacteria Streptococcus pneumonias. These infections are usually mild, but children are more likely to suffer permanent disability or death.

What is the pneumonia vaccine?

Pneumococcal vaccines reduce the risk of hospitalization for severe infections with the bacteria Streptococcus pneumonias, or “pneumococcus.” These infections can cause life-threatening ear and sinus infections, pneumonia, blood infections, and meningitis.

What are the types of pneumococcal vaccines?

There are two types of pneumococcal vaccines in the United States:

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV): A conjugate vaccine joins a protein to the pneumococcal bacteria.
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV): A polysaccharide vaccine is made to look like the surface of pneumococcal bacteria.

What are pneumococcal vaccine names?

  • PCV13 or Prevnar 13® — Inactivated vaccine. Protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria. It is given in a 3-dose series at 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months, plus one booster dose at 12-15 months.
  • PPSV23 or Pneumovax 23® — Inactivated vaccine. Protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. This vaccine is given as a single dose to people who are recommended to receive it. One or two booster doses may be recommended for certain people.

Who gets the pneumonia vaccine?

PCV is recommended for all babies and children under 2 years old, all adults 65 or older, and people between these ages with certain medical conditions.

PPSV is recommended for all adults 65 or older, people between 2 and 64 years old with certain medical conditions, and adults between 19 and 64 years old who smoke cigarettes or have asthma.

Who should NOT get a pneumococcal vaccine?

The following people should NOT get a PCV13 vaccine:

  • Pregnant women
  • People with a moderate or severe illness (wait until you get better)
  • Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a dose of the PCV vaccine, to an earlier conjugate vaccine called PCV7 (Prevnar®), to any vaccine containing diphtheria toxoid (such as DTaP), or to any other ingredient in the vaccine

The following people should NOT get a PPSV23 vaccine:

  • Children under 2 years old
  • Pregnant women
  • Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to PPSV23, or any other ingredient in the vaccine
  • People who are moderately or severely ill (wait until you get better)

What is the immunization schedule for pneumococcal disease?

One shot of PCV13 at each of the following ages:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • Between 12-15 months

One shot of PCV13 at the age of 65 years old.

One shot of PPSV23 at the age of 66 years old.

One or two additional shots of PSV13 and PPSV23 may be recommended for people with certain medical conditions that increase their risk for a serious pneumococcal infection.

What are common side effects of pneumonia vaccines?

The risk of side effects from the pneumonia vaccine depends on the type of vaccine (Prevnar13 or Pneumovax23), the dose number, the age of the patient, and other risk-factors.

The most common side effects of the PCV13 vaccine include:

  • 50% of people become drowsy after the shot, have a temporary loss of appetite, or redness and tenderness where the shot was given
  • 1 in 3 people have swelling where the shot was given
  • 1 in 3 people have a mild fever
  • 1 in 20 people have a high fever over 102.2ºF
  • 80% of people become fussy or irritable
  • Adults may develop fatigue, headache, chills, or muscle pain

The most common side effects of the PPSV vaccine include:

  • 50% of people have mild side effects, such as redness or pain where the shot was given for about 2 days
  • Less than 1% of people develop a fever, muscle ache, or more severe local reaction

To learn more about the side effects associated with pneumococcal vaccines, please visit this page: Pneumococcal Vaccine Side Effects.

What are severe side effects of pneumonia vaccines?

Young children who get PCV13 with an inactivated flu vaccine at the same time are more likely to develop a high fever that causes a seizure (febrile seizure). Ask your doctor for more information.

Some people get severe shoulder pain and have difficulty moving their arm. This is called Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA) and it is caused by the vaccine needle accidentally hitting a tendon, ligament, nerve, or puncturing the bursa in the shoulder.

The risk of a severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) is estimated to be about 1 in a million doses of the pneumococcal vaccine. The symptoms would appear within a few minutes or hours of the injection.

Where can I get more information?

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