The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV) protect against pneumococcal infections. The pneumococcus bacterium is a leading cause of serious infections, including pneumonia, blood infections, and bacterial meningitis.
The bacterium is spread through person-to-person contact. So the vaccine not only prevents the infection in children who receive it, it also helps stop the spread of the infection.
PCV immunizations are given as a series of four injections:
Healthy kids ages 2 to 5 who miss the first dose or may have missed subsequent doses due to vaccine shortage should still receive the vaccine. Kids ages 2 to 6 who were vaccinated in the past but have immunocompromising conditions (like asplenia, HIV infection, etc.) may need additional doses of PCV. Unvaccinated kids with these conditions between the ages of 7 to 18 might get a single dose. Your doctor can determine when and how often your child needs to be vaccinated.
Kids 2-18 years old should also receive the PPSV vaccine if they have chronic health conditions, including:
Children younger than 2 years old, adults over 65, and people with certain medical conditions are most susceptible to serious pneumococcal infections. The pneumococcal vaccine is very effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death.
Children who receive a pneumococcal vaccine may have redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given. A child also might have a fever after receiving the shot. There is a very small chance of an allergic reaction with any vaccine.
The vaccine is not recommended if your child:
The vaccine may cause mild fever and soreness or redness in the area where the shot was given. Depending on your child's age, pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication, and to find out the appropriate dose.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: February 2014
|National Immunization Program This website has information about immunizations. Call: (800) 232-2522|
|Immunization Action Coalition This organization is a source of childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization information as well as hepatitis B educational materials.|
|CDC: Pre-teen and Teen Vaccines CDC site provides materials in English and Spanish for parents, teens, pre-teens, and health care providers about vaccines and the diseases they prevent.|
|The History of Vaccines The History of Vaccines is an informational, educational website created by The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the oldest professional society in the United States.|
|Word! Vaccine A vaccine is another word for what most kids call a shot.|
|Immunization Schedule Which vaccines does your child need to receive and when? Use this immunization schedule as a handy reference.|
|What's a Normal Reaction to a Shot? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Your Child's Immunizations Immunizations protect your child from potentially fatal diseases. Find out what vaccines your child needs to grow up healthy.|
|Pneumonia Pneumonia is a common infection of the lungs that can usually be treated without a hospital stay.|
|Pneumonia Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be caused by different types of germs, most commonly viruses. Read about the characteristics of various types of pneumonia.|
|Pneumonia Pneumonia is an infection in a person's lungs. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|How Do I Know Which Vaccines My Kids Need? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Frequently Asked Questions About Immunizations Immunizations have protected millions of children from potentially deadly diseases. Learn about immunizations and find out exactly what they do - and what they don't.|
|How Can I Comfort My Baby During Shots? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|5 Tips for Surviving Shots If you're afraid of shots, you're not alone. Next time your doc asks you to roll up your sleeve, try these tips.|
|Immunizations Missing out on shots puts you at more serious risk than you might think. That one little "ouch" moment protects you from some major health problems.|
|A Kid's Guide to Shots If you're old enough to read this, you've probably had most of your shots. But even bigger kids may need a shot once in a while. Find out more about them in this article for kids.|
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